Italian football 'will die' with new TV deal, claims Napoli chief

ALVISE CAGNAZZO: Italian football ‘will die’ after Serie A agrees new TV rights deal until 2029, claims Napoli chief – after plans to create a dedicated Serie A channel fell through

  • Serie A have agreed a new TV rights deals with Sky and DAZN up until 2029
  • However, a Napoli chief has suggested that Italian football ‘will die’ with the deal
  • Listen to the latest episode of Mail Sport’s podcast ‘It’s All Kicking Off!’ 

DAZN and Sky will retain the rights to screen live Serie A matches in Italy for the next five seasons after Italian clubs voted in favour of the proposal. 

The league meeting ended with 17 votes in favour, one abstention and two clubs against. Afterwards, Napoli president Aurelio De Laurentiis bluntly expressed his fear of a loss of competitiveness for Italian football compared to their European counterparts.

His words, reported by the Gazzetta dello Sport, were very critical. He said: ‘It is a defeat for Italian football, with this offer football will die. For me, the fan is the absolute asset of a football club. 

‘My relationship must be direct with the fans, not direct with Sky and DAZN. The value of Italian football comes from investments. Sky and DAZN don’t invest.’

In the last three years, Serie A has generated some €927.5 million (£809m) per season from the sale of its TV rights in Italy, with DAZN again holding a majority share.

DAZN and Sky will retain the rights to screen Serie A matches in Italy for the next five seasons

While 17 clubs voted in favour of the deal, there are some concerns that have been brought up

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However, the new contract is for five years and will likely stem any financial growth for Italy’s top-flight league. 

With the new agreement, the Lega Serie A will receive approximately €900million  (£785m) per season. 

DAZN will still broadcast all 10 championship matches in a matchweek, with seven being exclusive and the last three broadcast by Sky in co-exclusivity with DAZN. 


Had the clubs not accepted the downward proposal from DAZN and Sky, the six envelopes which contained the proposals to create a single Lega Serie A channel to then be resold in bulk to the individual broadcasters, would have had to be opened. 

This is because six different partners – Carlyle, Pif, Advent, Oaktree and two other secret platforms – had made themselves available to present an offer on this front but evidently the idea, as claimed by the newspaper ‘Open’ by Enrico Mentana, was not attractive and most likely only served to raise the final price.

Six companies offered to help create a single Serie A channel – in a bid to help boost revenue


According to Napoli chief De Laurentiis, too few fear that Serie A’s financial decline could significantly weaken the economic strength of the league’s clubs and, thus, furthering the gap between Serie A and the Premier League. 

Across the five-year period starting from 2024, additional payments are expected from DAZN but, for De Laurentiis, they are not sufficient to cover the club’s growth margin on the market.

The data from the latest transfer market session speak of a collapse in investments across Serie A clubs and an increase in sales of top players abroad. 

Serie A only buys when it receives money from the Premier League or Ligue 1. The player market in Italy is a closed system, which rarely attracts investments from elsewhere in Europe. 

The Saudi Pro League teams spent a whopping €854.6 million (£785m) and took Sergei Milinkovic-Savic – the best midfielder in the Italian championship – away from Serie A.

On a global level, Serie A has been overtaken by the Premier League, Ligue 1 and Saudi Pro League which has invested a lot of money bringing Marcelo Brozovic and many other top players on the European circuit to Saudi Arabia. 

As reported by the Italian financial media, in 2023, the Premier League invested €2.8 billion (£2.4bn), Serie A €854.6 million (£785m) and the German Bundesliga spent €747 million (£651m). 

The Spanish La Liga is far behind, in sixth place, with investments of €439 million (£382m).

Napoli chief Aurelio De Laurentiis has voiced his concerns over the finances in the deal


In the 2023 summer transfer window, Juventus’ only purchase came in the form of Timothy Weah from Lille for €12 million (£10m).

Inter have brought in Matteo Darmian, Hakan Çalhanoğlu, Henrikh Mkhitaryan and Marcus Thuram for free in recent years, while AC Milan had to sell Sandro Tonali for €60million (£52m) in order to strengthen themselves. 

Similarly, Napoli chose to sacrifice Kim Min-Jae to Bayern Munich before bringing in Natan and Jesper Lindstrøm. It served as a confirmation that even a club capable of winning the Scudetto must contain their expenses. 

TV revenues represent around 80 percent of clubs’ fixed revenues per season and without increases, investments in the transfer market will not increase.

Without high fixed revenues from TV deals, and without owning their stadiums, it is difficult for Serie A clubs to maintain competition with the rest of Europe. 

Astonishingly, medium and low-level teams in England have spent more than Juventus in recent years and, somehow, have superior economic capabilities compared to all the Italian teams. 

Everton, for example, bought Beto from Udinese for £25m – a fee that was too expensive for many Italian clubs. The result is the departure of yet another player who was highly-regarded in Serie A, but one who is yet to establish himself in the Premier League.

Everton completed the signing of Portuguese striker Beto in a £25m deal from Udinese


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