Italian soccer rights in limbo

Another deadline passes without bids

ROME -- The deadline for bidding rights for Italy's Serie A soccer season came and went without a winning bidder Tuesday, making it unclear whether soccer-mad Italians will be able to watch their favorite team when play gets under way Saturday.

So far, soccer's ruling body, Federcalcio, has been unable to find a taker for the 70 million euros ($104 million) rights package for the country's top soccer league. The price is nearly 15% higher than broadcaster Mediaset paid for last season's rights. The second deadline for the rights passed Tuesday.

With no winning bidder in place, it becomes increasingly likely that Federcalcio will have to come up with a stop-gap solution to assure that the first weeks of the season are broadcast in Italy.

The Italian media was filled with speculation regarding how such an accord may be organized, but thus far Federcalcio has given no indication how it will proceed.