Serie A details specifics of ‘territorial’ Mena rights tender

 By Martin Ross - SportBusiness

 

Lega Serie A has today (Friday) published its invitation to tender for broadcast rights in the Middle East and North Africa from 2021-22 to 2023-24, offering a region-wide package and individual packages in each country, including Saudi Arabia.

 

The ITT covers the top-tier Serie A, Coppa Italia and Supercoppa with broadcasters and agencies handed a deadline of 10am (CET) on February 1 by which to bid.

Announcing the launch of the tender, Lega Serie A said it had been built on a territorial approach.

 

The publication of the tender document – which contains no specific minimum reserve price assigned to packages – comes after the league decided to enter into private negotiations with bidders for broadcast rights in the rest of the world.

Tensions surfaced during the current rights cycle between pay-television broadcaster beIN Media Group, the current rights-holder in the Mena region, and the league. This peaked in June as beIN enacted a blackout of coverage amid ongoing tensions over the league’s relationship with Saudi Arabia and the country’s links to pirate channel beoutQ.

A compensation deal with the league and IMG, the agency that holds the international rights, was subsequently struck and coverage resumed. The broadcaster’s original Serie A rights agreement across various territories, including France, Australia and the Middle East and North Africa was worth around $170m (€140.5m) per season.

The league is offering a package of Serie A rights across the whole of the Mena region, and the same for the Coppa Italia package (which also includes rights to the Supercoppa). There are also 24 country-specific packages available for Serie A and the same number for the Coppa Italia/Supercoppa.

Offers, which can be submitted from January 28 onwards, can be for the whole Mena territory and/or one or more of the country packages. Joint bids will be considered, the league said, but bidders must specify how the rights comprised within the various packages would be allocated between respective members of a bidding consortium.

 

During its recent Mena rights sales process, the English Premier League agreed a new three-year deal with beIN worth a total of $500m and covering the whole region.

Data and betting streaming rights have not been included, with the Lega Serie A reserving the right to commercialise those revenue streams separately. In-flight and in-ship rights are also excluded after the league began the sale of those rights just under two months ago.

The beIN-Lega Serie A relationship became particularly strained following the league’s decision to host the Supercoppa in Saudi Arabia. The kingdom had enforced an economic blockade on Qatar, the home nation and state funder of beIN, though that has now been lifted.