Amazon eyes first foray into broadcasting soccer matches in Italy - sources

·2-min read
Amazon logistics center in Lauwin-Planque
Amazon logistics center in Lauwin-Planque

MILAN (Reuters) - Amazon <AMZN.O> is set to secure exclusive rights to screen top European Champions League matches in Italy for the 2021-2024 seasons, three sources close to matter said, in what would be its first foray into broadcasting sports events in the country.

UEFA last month invited broadcasters to submit bids for the rights to screen Europe's premier soccer competition in Italy, in one of the biggest broadcasting rights sales in the European soccer industry after the outbreak of the coronavirus this year.

Amazon is nearing exclusive rights to broadcast Wednesday's Champions League matches on its streaming platform Prime Video in Italy for some 80-90 million euros, the sources said, in a move seen as a way to boost its Prime subscription service. Italy's top pay-TV broadcaster SKY, owned by U.S. Comcast's <CMCSA.O> is nearing a deal to buy most of Champions League matches and Europa League matches, the sources said.

SKY's bid was worth about 100-110 million euros per season, two sources said. Italy's top commercial broadcaster Mediaset <MS.MI> is close to winning non-exclusive rights for top Champions League matches to be played on Tuesdays for some 45-50 million euros, the sources added. Final sale results of the deal are expected to be announced by the end of this week, the sources said. One source said a separate tender to sell Europa League streaming rights might be held in January, as SKY was unable to buy those rights due to an Italian antitrust ruling preventing the pay-TV from securing exclusive contents for its video-streaming platform.

In 2017 SKY bought exclusive rights to broadcast Champions League and Europe soccer matches in Italy for an estimated 270 million euros per season.

SKY and Amazon declined to comment. Mediaset said it was still waiting for the rights to be awarded.

(Reporting by Elvira Pollina, editing by Ed Osmond)