Sky Italia extends exclusive UEFA club competition rights for another season

To increase subscribers, Sky Italia decided not to sub-license some matches to another broadcaster or even show games on its own free-to-air TV8 channel.

The Italian TV network, Sky Italia is set to broadcast Union of European Football Associations (UEFA) club competitions exclusively on its platforms next season, rather than offering free-to-air coverage.

In an effort to increase subscriber numbers, the broadcaster has decided not to sub-license some matches to another broadcaster or even show games on its own free-to-air TV8 channel. This means that matches from the most prestigious UEFA Champions League (UCL), UEFA Europa League (UEL), and UEFA Conference League (UECL) will only be broadcast on Sky’s linear channels and the Now streaming platform.

Along with this, Sky also recently revealed a price hike for Italy of between €6.90 ($7.45) and €7.99 per month, bringing the final price to between €22.90 and €26.90 per month. Meanwhile, the soccer-only package has risen from €3 to €8 per month.

Sky secured exclusive rights to air 185 of the 203 Champions League matches per season, in addition to all 342 Europa League and Europa Conference League fixtures, for the next three years, from 2024-25 to 2026-27.

The pay-TV operator will be sharing UCL rights with Amazon Prime Video, which will continue to broadcast 18 top-pick Wednesday evening games. Sky had exclusive live rights to the first-pick UCL match on Tuesdays, in addition to delayed coverage and highlights, from 2021-22 to 2023-24.

Meanwhile, Sky also held both exclusive and non-exclusive digital and linear rights to the UEL and UECL. However, it was later prohibited from obtaining exclusive streaming rights to any content in Italy for a period of three years, spanning from 2019 to 2021 (inclusive).

The AGCM, Italy’s antitrust regulator, imposed the ban to protect competition in the market following the broadcaster’s failed acquisition of R2, the pay-TV services and technical platform of Mediaset Premium, the digital terrestrial TV service.

Eight Serie A teams will compete in European competitions the following season, five of which, Inter Milan, AC Milan, Atalanta BC, Juventus FC, and Bologna will be in the Champions League. Fiorentina will feature in the Conference League, whereas Roma and Lazio will participate in the Europa League.

The event’s new format, which will come into effect next year, is reflected in the rise in Sky’s Champions League matches for the upcoming deal. There will be 36 teams instead of 32, and each team will play eight games in the first round of groups instead of six.

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