- Streaming network DAZN has secured a huge broadcast deal to provide domestic coverage of Italy’s Serie A soccer.
- The deal runs for the next three seasons and includes exclusivity for 7 of the 10 weekly fixtures.
- DAZN’s €2.5 billion ($2.95 billion USD) rights fee offer beat out current domestic outlet Sky Italia which offered €2.25 billion ($2.65 billion USD)
The last time we heard from sports streaming platform DAZN they were signing a deal with BetMGM to be their exclusive odds provider for US boxing telecasts. They’re back in the news today and they’ve just inked a substantially bigger deal–in fact, it might be the biggest rights deal ever for DAZN. They’ve been awarded the domestic broadcast rights for Italy’s Serie A soccer circuit for the next three years at a cost of €2.5 billion ($2.95 billion USD).
In many ways, DAZN was at the right place at the right time. Like every other sports league in the world Serie A took a huge financial hit from the COVID-19 pandemic. In 2019 (the last full, uninterrupted season) the league had an average attendance of 17,949 and a total attendance of 6,820,745. To date in the 20/21 season the league is averaging 154 fans per game and a total of 42,550. Fans have only recently returned to Italian stadiums and under significantly reduced capacity ranging from 1,000 to 3,000 per game. Inter Milan and AC Milan, for example, have capped attendance at 2,000 per game. The teams share the Stadio Giuseppe Meazza which has a capacity of 75,923.
Serie A sought an 18% increase over the current rights fees to help assuage the revenue sting. They didn’t end up getting that increase but it did upset the equilibrium among their broadcast partners to provide an opening for DAZN. Had it been ‘business as usual’ the rights would have most likely gone back to Sky Italia. Sky still has the rights to the UEFA Champions League for the next three years–they’ll air 121 of the 137 Champions League matches per season. They’ve also picked up the 282 UEFA Europa League games as part of the deal. The terms of the deal with UEFA has not been made public but you can be sure that Sky paid a hefty sum for the rights.
DAZN won’t be on the hook for the full amount of the broadcast fees–they’ve received financial backing from Italian telecommunications company TIM that will defray the rights fee by 40%. TIM will pay a total of €1 billion ($1.2 billion USD). DAZN and TIM have a content distribution and technical support arrangement that will result in the Italian telco picking up right around €340 million ($413 million USD) a year