Italian clubs plot football pay-TV venture
From Branislav Pekic in Rome

After the failure of Gioco Calcio and Dahlia TV, a third pay-TV operator could challenge the dominance of Sky Italia and Mediaset Premium in the field of Serie A football TV rights.

Lega Calcio, the governing body of Italy’s professional football leagues, is seriously considering the possibility of setting up its own pay-TV operation and obtaining the necessary licences to transmit content on the DTT and DTH platforms.

A move in this direction seems likely, following the decision of Lega Calcio Service, a service company which belongs to the Serie A and B leagues, to increase its share capital from €550.000 to €6.2 million and to expand its activities to include “supplier of media services on electronic communications networks”.

If the new venture should come to fruition, its first goal would be to acquire the DTT TV rights to the eight Serie A teams that are not part of the Mediaset Premium stable (Cagliari, Catania, Cesena, Chievo, Lecce, Parma and Udinese). The real battle would take place next year, when the satellite TV rights to the Serie A expire, currently held exclusively by Sky Italia.

The top Italian football clubs have already made known that they will not accept offers below €1 billion for the 2012-2015 TV rights to the Serie A and Serie B.