DAZN launches in Italy with exclusive Serie A domestic rights

Sky picks up majority of Italian soccer coverage as OTT broadcaster steps into new market.

DAZN launches in Italy with exclusive Serie A domestic rights

Getty Images

Pay-TV giant Sky and DAZN, the OTT service operated by digital sports media company Perform, have secured domestic rights to Serie A, the top flight of Italian club soccer.

The deal, which sees DAZN officially launch in Italy, gives the streaming platform exclusive multi-platform rights to 114 matches each season for three years from 2018/19.

Meanwhile, Sky will have exclusive coverage of 266 games per season for the same three-year period from 2018 until 2021.

Lega Serie A chairman Gaetano Micciche said that the contract is worth more than €973 million (US$1.2 billion) a season, although that figure could rise by a further €100 million each year based on results achieved by Sky and DAZN in terms of subscriptions and revenues.

DAZN’s package will include the Saturday night match at 8:30pm (CET), and matches on Sundays at 12:30pm (CET) and 3:00pm (CET), as well as three exclusive games for every midweek round of fixtures. The platform will also show highlights of all games.

The deal marks the first time a pure live and on-demand streaming service has been awarded exclusive Serie A rights in Italy. Matches shown on DAZN will be available across smart TVs, PCs, smartphones, tablets and games consoles, with subscriptions priced at €9.99 per month. DAZN added that every fan will be entitled to a one-month free trial of the service.

“The sport industry is ripe for disruption,” said DAZN chief executive James Rushton. “Consumer behaviour has been transformed by technology, with streaming becoming the new norm for viewing content. DAZN suits the changing needs of today’s sports fans. Since launching almost two years ago, we have disrupted the industry in multiple markets as we change the way the world sees sport.”

DAZN is already available in Germany, Austria, Switzerland, Japan and Canada, and its move into Italy marks another step in the company’s ambition to become a major player in sports broadcasting. The company recently signed a landmark US$1 billion agreement with Matchroom Boxing to create Matchroom USA, which represented the biggest deal in boxing history and will see DAZN launch in the US later this year.

“Our entry into Italy with Serie A rights is the first of many announcements we expect to make in the coming weeks as we reveal a range of premium domestic and international sports rights to create a multi-sport offering that is accessible, affordable and lives up to our fans first philosophy,” added Rushton.

Lega Serie A launched a new bidding round for the 2018 to 2021 domestic rights earlier this months after cancelling its contract awarding them to Chinese-owned Spanish media giant Mediapro, which failed to present the necessary bank guarantees.

Mediapro was expected to auction the rights to other operators but its tender was cancelled by a Milan judge in May on the grounds that it had breached antitrust regulations, following a legal challenge from Sky’s Italian arm.

A source close to the Reuters news agency said that Mediapro did not take part in this week’s auction, which made a total of 400 matches available.