<iframe src="https://www.googletagmanager.com/ns.html?id=GTM-P36XLWQ" height="0" width="0" style="display:none;visibility:hidden">

Napoli owner rejects calls for Serie A media rights stake sale

Aurelio De Laurentiis wants Italian top-flight soccer league to keep control of its media business.

7 March 2023 Ed Dixon

Getty Images

  • Multiple private equity firms linked with deal for share of Serie A media rights operation
  • AC Milan owner Gerry Cardinale believes league can be “self-sufficient”

Aurelio De Laurentiis, the owner of Italian soccer club Napoli, has urged the domestic top-flight Serie A not to allow external investment into the league’s media business.

“I have always been against selling,” Aurelio de Laurentiis told Reuters.

“We should produce the content and then place it with the various platforms – Amazon, Netflix, Apple, DAZN and Sky.”

Serie A is aiming to increase its media revenues, with external investors a potential option. This has seen Goldman Sachs and JPMorgan Chase & Co linked with financing the league’s media rights business. The latter is reportedly able to provide between €700 million (US$747 million) and €1 billion (US1.1 billion) in bank financing, with the rights acting as the collateral backing the investment.

A deal with a private equity firm and spinning off Serie A’s media business had looked imminent in 2020, only for a €1.7 billion (US$1.8 billion) offer from a CVC Capital Partners-led consortium to then be rejected by several clubs.

That setback hasn’t put off Serie A, though. The league has reportedly been open to restarting talks, with Apollo Global Management and Searchlight Capital, alongside a group of funds led by Carlyle Group Inc, all purportedly expressing interest in buying into Serie A’s rights.

Spain’s LaLiga has already taken the private equity plunge, penning its €2 billion (US$2.1 billion) ‘Impulso’ investment deal with CVC in December 2021, securing the firm an 8.25 per cent share in a company comprising of the league’s media rights. The German Football League (DFL) is also reportedly readying to restart talks with private equity firms over the sale of a stake in the Bundesliga’s media rights business.

Both leagues hope outside investment will help close the revenue gap on England’s Premier League, but De Laurentiis is the latest high-profile Serie A club owner to push back against the prospect of external backers for the league’s media operations. Last week saw Gerry Cardinale, whose RedBird Capital Partners firm owns defending Serie A champions AC Milan, speak out against the move.

“I’m not a buyer of that, I’m not a supporter of that,” Cardinale told The Financial Times Business of Football Summit last week.

“Why mortgage your future? We can be self-sufficient ourselves.”

1 / 2news articles read

Enjoying SportsPro content? Create your account and get enhanced access to all the latest stories.


Already have an account?