RAI denied soccer rights

League rejects $45 million bid

Hopes that RAI will broadcast action from the Italo soccer league this season faded Wednesday when the pubcaster announced that the Lega Calcio (Football League) had turned down its final offer of e30.6 million ($45 million).

In a statement, RAI said it had “done everything possible” to get the soccer highlights for its TV and radio channels during the kickoff of the 2008-09 season next weekend.

The news marks the end of talks that followed RAI’s refusal earlier this month to stump up the league’s $103 million asking price for the right to broadcast weekend highlights for two seasons.

RAI said that unless the league was willing to reopen talks in the next few days to bring about a last-minute deal, Italians would only be able to see domestic soccer on TV if they pay for it.

News Corp.’s Sky Italia satellite platform offers soccer, as does a digital terrestrial TV channel operated by Prime Minister Silvio Berlusconi’s Mediaset broadcast group.

The decision is akin to a minor earthquake on Italo terrestrial TV.

Next season will be the first in which the pubcaster is unable to bring soccer-mad Italians their weekend fix of soccer highlights on TV institutions such as “La domenica sportiva” (Sporting Sunday) and “Novantesimo minuto” (Ninetieth Minute).

Luca Borgomeo, president of the National Viewers Council, told Corriere Della Sera newspaper that the development was “the latest defeat for public services and a blow to millions of Italians.”

The fact that RAI has won the right to broadcast soccer from Italy’s Supercoppa (Super Cup) in an $880,000 deal will be scant consolation.

Want to read more articles like this one? SUBSCRIBE TO VARIETY TODAY.
Post A Comment 0

Leave a Reply

No Comments

Comments are moderated. They may be edited for clarity and reprinting in whole or in part in Variety publications.

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s

More Scene News from Variety