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Sky Italia retain exclusive UEFA club competition rights

Sky Italia will also not sub-license rights for free-to-air coverage

Sky Italia, the leading Italian pay-TV operator, has decided to retain exclusive broadcasting rights for European soccer’s UEFA club competitions on its platforms for the upcoming season. This move is seen as a strategic decision to boost subscriber numbers by not sub-licensing matches or offering free-to-air coverage.

In a significant shift from previous practices, Sky Italia will not sub-license any matches to other broadcasters or air games on its own free-to-air TV8 channel. This means that all matches from the prestigious UEFA Champions League, second-tier Europa League, and third-tier Conference League will only be available on linear Sky channels and the Now streaming platform.

This decision follows Sky's recent announcement of a price increase in Italy ranging between €6.90 ($7.45) and €7.99 per month, bringing the final price to between €22.90 and €26.90 per month.

Amazon Prime Video will still share rights with Sky for UCL

In May 2023, Sky secured exclusive rights to broadcast 185 out of 203 Champions League matches each season along with all 342 Europa League and Europa Conference League fixtures for three years starting from 2024-25 until 2026-27.

However, it's worth noting that Amazon Prime Video will share Champions League rights with Sky Italia by continuing to show 18 top-pick Wednesday evening games. During the previous cycle (2021-22 - 2023-24), commercial free-to-air broadcaster Mediaset held exclusive live rights for first-pick Champions League match every Tuesday along with delayed coverage and highlights while Sky had rights for showing remaining games.

Sky also had both exclusive linear and non-exclusive digital rights for Europa league but was banned from acquiring exclusive streaming content in Italy due to antitrust regulations set by AGCM after an unsuccessful attempt at purchasing R2, the pay-TV services and technical platform of Mediaset Premium.

Eyes on AGCOM for FTA regulations

Despite Sky's decision not to sub-license any rights next year, AGCOM, the Italian communications regulator, will enforce a rule that European club finals must be shown free-to-air if they feature an Italian team. This rule was applied during this year’s Europa League final featuring Atalanta which drew an audience of 6.3 million.

Next season will see eight Serie A clubs participating in European competitions with five in the Champions League – Inter Milan, AC Milan, Atalanta, Juventus and Bologna. Roma and Lazio will compete in the Europa League while Fiorentina will play in the Conference League.

The increase in Sky’s Champions League matches for the next deal corresponds to a new format starting next year where participating teams will increase from 32 to 36 with each side playing eight games instead of six during initial group stages. In addition to UEFA club rights, Sky also holds domestic rights for Serie A and recently renewed its deal to show English Premier League through 2027-28.

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