DAZN’s domestic Serie A rights bid could ‘lay the foundations for the future’ of football broadcasting in Italy, according to La Liga President, Javier Tebas.
The Spanish football figurehead told Italian news agency Ansa, ahead of a Serie A assembly meeting, that to turn down the offer would be ‘incomprehensible’ and ‘risk leaving Serie A and Italian football in the past’.
Tebas explained: “The OTTs represent the future, carrying on a path of innovation and modernity that it’s no longer possible to leave behind. We live moments in Europe where the big OTTs of entertainment make deals with telcos, like Disney, Netflix, etc.”
With clubs expected to return a decisive vote at the third and, reportedly, final meeting, rival incumbent broadcaster Sky Italia has written to the Lega Serie A governing body, warning that an agreement with the digital streaming service could ‘undermine the competitive dynamics that the Lega has a duty to ensure’.
At the previous two meetings, clubs have returned an identical vote, with 11 teams favouring DAZN’s €840 million offer and nine abstentions. However, 14 votes out of 20 are needed to push the deal through.
The letter, which was published by Italian daily newspaper La Stampa, suggested that Lega Serie A’s CEO, Luigi De Siervo, asked Sky to submit a conditional offer but the broadcaster was not aware of the Lega’s doubts about the ‘admissibility’ of the bid.
It continued: “The CEO of the Lega Serie A has communicated to us… the request by the Lega that Sky renounces the clarifications presented in the course of the private negotiation, given that the Lega would have doubts about the admissibility of our offer, considering it conditional.
“This communication and its timing are nothing short of surprising, given that the position is made explicit after more than a month and a half from the definition of the offers and a few days after their expiration.
“The invitation to detail the offer with an indication of the Lega’s commitment to distribute its channel with Serie A matches directly to users was explicitly made by the CEO and the lawyers of the Lega, during the private negotiations that took place.
“Sky therefore sent a letter to the Lega in which it reiterated that its offer does not contain any conditions and that the Lega’s position would be unfounded, in contrast with the Melandri Law and would undermine the competitive dynamics that the Lega has a duty to ensure.
“The award of Sky’s offer would lead to a more competitive result, because the live television broadcasts of the matches of the entire championship would be offered by both the Lega and Sky, with obvious benefits for Serie A, clubs and spectators, taking into account that they would be visible on all platforms.”
In response, De Siervo reiterated that ‘the Lega has always acted in full compliance with the rules’, disputing any claims.
Having already received the backing of Telecom Italia (TIM) in its bid for the 2021 to 2024 cycle, DAZN also held talks with Italian media company Persidera SpA over renting digital frequencies to allay concerns that the country’s inconsistent internet connectivity is not compatible with an exclusive streaming agreement.