The Italian Serie A has announced a plan to set up a new company that will seek investors and oversee the sale of the league’s television rights.
The league told reporters on Wednesday that the media rights for the league for the last three seasons brought in 1.31 billion euros ($1.55 billion), according to the data firm Statista. But it has been a point of contention this year, as the global coronavirus outbreak forced games to stop for more than three months, reports Xinhua news agency.
The Serie A is looking for a way to prop up sagging revenues, since the fans have been prevented from attending games live, which eliminated the revenue from ticket sales. Merchandise sales have also been hurt by the lockdown.
At least two private equity firms have expressed an interest in acquiring a minority stake in the company: Bain Capital and CVC Capital Partners. According to Italian media reports, a 10 per cent stake in the company would fetch as much as 1.60 billion euros ($1.89 billion).
Serie A teams are expected to consider the competing bids and to make a decision by the end of the month.
In China, Serie A games are broadcast by both China Central Television and PPTV, a major video streaming website.
The Serie A teams hope that the creation of the yet to be named media company will help boost revenue from broadcast rights, an area where Serie A earns less than rival leagues in England, Germany, and Spain.
The 1.31 billion euros ($1.55 billion) Serie A earned from broadcast rights for the 2019-20 season is less than half the 3.5 billion euros ($4.1 billion) earned by the English Premier League, which was the highest among the European football leagues.