MILAN (Reuters) – Sport streaming service DAZN is leading the race for rights to screen Italy’s Serie A matches over the 2021-2024 seasons in a challenge to the country’s dominant pay-TV player SKY, two sources familiar with the matter said on Sunday.
Broadcasting rights are the main source of revenue for Serie A and are even more important with matches being played in empty stadiums due to COVID-19 restrictions and companies cutting advertising budgets.
Italy’s top-flight soccer league held a round of talks with broadcasters, who increased their initial offers but did not match the 1.15 billion euros target.
DAZN is offering about 850 million euros per season to show all Serie A matches on its streaming app, the sources said.
SKY, a unit of U.S. Comcast, has bid nearly 750 million euros to screen matches on different platforms, they said.
Serie A clubs will discuss the bids at a meeting on Monday.
The size of the bid, however, might not be the only criteria for valuing the offers, a senior club official said.
Both SKY and DAZN declined to comment.
Under a three-year contract expiring at the end of this season, Serie A raised 973 million euros per year from the sale of domestic licenses to SKY, which took the lion’s share of games, and DAZN, which made its debut on the Italian market.
Serie A could raise slightly more than 900 million euros combining DAZN’s bid and an offer by SKY to screen some matches on its streaming platform, the sources said.
“We are not that far from the amount of the current agreements,” one of source said, adding a variable part of the offers could help narrow the gap further.
(Reporting by Elvira Pollina, editing by Ed Osmond)