Amazon Plans to Bid for Italy’s Top Soccer TV Rights

Claudio Terzi of Spezia Calcio scores the opening goal during the Serie A match between Spezia Calcio and UC Sampdoria at Stadio Alberto Picco on January 11, 2021 in La Spezia, Italy.
Claudio Terzi of Spezia Calcio scores the opening goal during the Serie A match between Spezia Calcio and UC Sampdoria at Stadio Alberto Picco on January 11, 2021 in La Spezia, Italy.

(Bloomberg) -- Amazon.com Inc. is planning to bid for Italy’s Serie A TV rights, putting it in competition with Comcast Corp.’s Sky to broadcast one of world’s biggest soccer tournaments, according to people familiar with the matter.

The Seattle-based e-commerce giant plans to bid for streaming rights that would be used by its Prime Video unit, said the people, who asked not to be identified because the deliberations aren’t public. The league set a Jan. 26 deadline to sell rights to the next three seasons, seeking at least 1.15 billion euros ($1.4 billion) apiece, according to the people.

Representatives for Amazon and Serie A declined to comment.

Amazon has been expanding the lineup of European soccer matches it offers to its Prime subscribers, including select matches of the U.K.’s Premier League, the world’s most popular league. It’s also pushed deeper into sports coverage in the U.S., acquiring rights to NFL games.

Serie A, meanwhile, has been seeking new sources of revenue. Last year, CVC Capital Partners and Advent International agreed to acquire a stake in a new media unit that’s being created by the soccer league. They’re paying 1.7 billion euros for 10% of the new company, which will manage the league’s TV rights. Italy’s FSI fund is also part of the consortium.

Serie A, home to players such as Cristiano Ronaldo and Zlatan Ibrahimovic, is in need of a cash injection after decades of underinvestment. The league and its teams have seen their finances further hit by the Covid-19 pandemic, which has caused match-day sales to evaporate and diminished broadcast revenue.