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Italian Serie A Shows Itself in New York to See Its Future

Lega Serie A and Infront Sports & Media launch a new international roadshow for stakeholders

by Alessandro Pugliese

From left to right: Michael Gandler (Chief Revenue Office of Inter), Popi Bonnici (Chief of Editorial Television Coverage), Claudio Fenucci (CEO of Bologna), James Palotta (Owner & President of AS Roma), Francesco Genuardi (Consule General), Marco Brunelli (CEO of Lega Serie A), Umberto Gandini (CEO of AS Roma), Luigi De Siervo (CEO of Infront Italy)

The main reason for this event, along with stops in London and Shanghai, is that the broadcasting media rights for 2018-2021 are soon to be available for purchase. The Roadshow introduces new innovation and storytelling to enrich the experience of Serie A fans worldwide. In New York President of A.S. Roma, James Pallotta said: "Serie A is a huge worldwide product, it just hasn’t been distributed in the way it deserves.”

While most fans of the Italian Serie A still look back to the glory days in the 1990s and early 2000s, there should be no shortage of optimism for the future of the league. For the first time, Lega Serie A and its advisor Infront Sports & Media organized in New York a roadshow to present new innovations and outline the future of the league. The main reason for this event, along with stops in London and Shanghai, is that the broadcasting media rights for 2018-2021 are soon to be available for purchase.

While previously the rights were sold by a global approach, this time, they will be sold via a regional approach with continents, regions and individual territories able to take up the programming. For the first time the rights for both the Serie A Championship and Coppa Italia will be offered together.

”The last figures just released this morning say that last season more than 1.1 billion people as a cumulative audience watched the Italian Serie A games in more than 200 territories worldwide with more than 100,000 hours of global coverage in all those territories”, said Lega Serie A president Marco Brunelli. “This is a really important audience and result.”

While these are impressive numbers, the league is looking to improve upon them and reach a wider audience. beIN Sports currently owns the broadcasting rights for Serie A in the United States and Canada for the upcoming 2017-18.

“Lega Serie A and the clubs are eager to establish a direct relationship to be the reference of ratings for different regions and even for single countries”, said Anna Guarnerio, Director of TV and Media Rights for Infront. “Lega Serie A is looking for partners that are prepared to give exposure to the matches and Serie A is ready to provide these partners with content.”

The intent of the league is clear; gain the ability to provide easily accessible quality content to a large international audience. Calcio fans in America have lately voiced their concerns with beIN’s coverage of Serie A, claiming that the channel favors La Liga over the Italian league and problems with it’s online service, beIN Connect.

James Pallotta speaks at the Serie A Roadshow held on July 19th at the Knickerbocker Hotel in Manhattan

With the structure for the tender of the international rights to be decided by the end of this month, many hope that the league will be able to agree a deal with a provider in the United States that will provide better service and broadcast a larger quantity of games. beIN Sports is only known to avid soccer fans in America but not to the casual viewer. This is a big advantage, which the English Premier League holds being broadcast by NBC.

Most people don’t realize how big it is in the rest of the world”, owner and President of A.S. Roma, James Pallotta said regarding the Italian league. “It [Serie A] is a huge worldwide product, it just hasn’t been distributed in the way it deserves.”

While it may feel as if Serie A hasn’t got the attention or distribution it deserves in quite some time now, it looks as if the league is turning the corner to a much brighter future. 

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