Sky Italia challenges DAZN-TIM Serie A deal on antitrust grounds, Telecom Information, ET Telecom

By Elvira Pollina

MILAN: Sky Italia has appealed to the Italian competition authorities against a deal between the sports streaming app DAZN and Telecom Italia (TIM) to show football matches, it said on Tuesday.

In one blow against Sky Italia in March, DAZN secured the right to broadcast all Serie A football games in Italy for the next three seasons for 2.5 billion euros (US $ 3 billion) and also entered into a distribution partnership with TIM .

As part of the deal, TIM would take on more than 40% of the annual payments DAZN has to make to Serie A, as a Reuters document showed, as it relies on soccer to promote its ultra-fast broadband and pay-TV services .

Sky Italia, which is owned by Comcast and launched broadband services in Italy last year, called the deal “illegitimate” and strengthened TIM’s already dominant position in broadband by preventing DAZN from distributing games through other telecom operators.

TIM said in a statement that streaming all Serie A games was an important step in advancing Italy’s digitization and accused Sky, which distributes some of its content via satellite, of trying to delay the country’s digital transition.

TIM CEO Luigi Gubitosi told analysts last month that as part of the deal with DAZN, TIM is the only telecommunications company that can offer a subscription to the sports streaming service.

Earlier this month, DAZN turned down a € 1.5 billion offer from Sky Italia to host the app’s content, including Serie A games, on Sky’s platforms in Italy for the next three years, two said sources close to the matter.

Sources told Reuters that other competitors of Telecom Italia have also complained to the Italian competition regulator about the partnership between the former telephone monopoly and DAZN.

Italian telephony operator Windtre called on competition authorities on Tuesday to protect consumers’ right to choose where to watch football matches, including satellite platforms.

The Italian Cartel Office and DAZN declined to comment.

TIM shares fell 1.35% on the Milan Stock Exchange on Tuesday, trailing the Italian blue chip index, which fell 0.32%.

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