Sky-Italia, Mediaset Strike Deal to Broadcast 'Serie A' Soccer in 2015
ROME — Sky-Italia and Mediaset formally ended weeks of negotiations on Friday, agreeing to a $1.3 billion (€945 million) compromise that allows both broadcasters to air the most important games from Italy's top Serie A professional soccer division for three years, starting in 2015.
The three-season agreement means both companies will have rights to broadcast games from the eight main Serie A teams. Sky-Italia will also have exclusive rights over the bottom 12 teams in Serie A.
Sky-Italia is a satellite broadcaster that is part of Rupert Murdoch's 21st Century Fox, and Mediaset is controlled by Italy's billionaire former Prime Minister Silvio Berlusconi.
The new contract tweaks the agreement in place for this season, although it will give Mediaset fewer games while paying more than in the past, at a cost of $510 million (€373 million). Sky-Italia will again pay $785 million (€572 million) and broadcast more games than under the terms of previous contracts.
The deal means both companies will be able to broadcast AC Milan matches, the top soccer team Berlusconi owns.
Italy is one of the most soccer-mad countries in the world, with one of the highest viewership rates and highest broadcast fee levels. Italian broadcasters see coverage of live sporting events like pro soccer as a way to keep viewers tuned in against video-on-demand and download services.
The deal keeps soccer in Italy's headlines just days after its national team was bounced from the World Cup after winning just one of three group stage matches.