The start of the 2018-19 Serie A season is just six weeks away and international fans of Italian football anxiously await to find out precisely how they will get their weekly calcio fix.
The assigning of the TV rights both domestically and abroad for the 2018-2021 seasons has been mired in delays and controversy. Nonetheless, it is the hope of the Lega Calcio and its advisor Infront to provide the viewers with more and better access to Serie A content. This was one of the primary reasons why the international Serie A TV rights were awarded to IMG.
While negotiations are in the final stages, there is reason to believe the announcements will need to be made by the end of July.
UPDATE: SuperSport TV will broadcast Serie A for the next three seasons
— SuperSport (@SuperSportTV) July 5, 2018
First and foremost for logistical reasons: the TV networks and/or OTT service providers that will broadcast the games will need to plan their schedules and have time to properly promote the matches. In the event there will be a change from the status quo of the past three years, this will be even more important to inform and educate the viewers on how they will be able to watch Serie A for the upcoming season.
Secondly, from a contractual obligation point of view, there are two clauses in the invitation to tender for international media rights that indicate the licensee and sub-licensee have time sensitive requirements to fulfill, namely:
License term 6.2.3 clause (v) – “supply to Lega Calcio Serie A, as soon as possible and not later than (15) days prior to the related content being broadcast, the television programming and coverage that will be transmitted by each sub-licensee”
License term 220.127.116.11 – “the licensee of the Serie A Package must broadcast throughout the entire Licensed Territory an appropriate number of promotional trailers during the week preceding each Serie A round, being at least (5) per round. Lega Calcio Serie A’s expectations are that approximately 190 trailers per football season, having a duration between 5 and 15 seconds, will be broadcast during the days of the week (or other period) preceding a match.”
In other words, Lega Calcio wants to know at least 15 days in advance what programming will be made available to the viewers and how it will be promoted. If we take the start of the season, August 19 and deduct 15 days, by August 4th this information must be presented to the league.
Expect more announcements to be made particularly at the end of the World Cup.