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Report: ViacomCBS Wins Serie A TV Rights For Paramount Plus, Global Rights Still a Mystery

Jeff Kotuby

ViacomCBS may have just secured a big win in their quest to dominate soccer coverage in America. According to a report from Italy, Serie A, Italy’s top soccer league, has reached an exclusive agreement with ViacomCBS to broadcast games starting with the 2021-22 season.

Like Champions League, it is likely that the games will end up on Paramount+.

The company has been fervent in their pursuit to expand their soccer coverage. During the launch of Paramount+, the company focused heavily on its soccer coverage. ViacomCBS already owns the broadcast rights to UEFA Champions League, EuropaLeague, Europa Conference League, NWSL, Concacaf, Brazil’s Campeonato Brasileiro Série A, and Argentina’s Liga Profesional de Futbol. Now, they can add Serie A to the list.

The move impacts former rights holders ESPN, who currently airs most Serie A matches on ESPN+, and splurged on Serie A rights when star striker Cristiano Ronaldo (pictured) moved from Real Madrid to Juventus. Also, there were rumblings that emerging sports streaming titan Amazon was interested in the rights — but in the end, CBS wins.

“Sports are important because the American consumer loves sports,” Bakish said during Paramount+’s launch event. “And so we see that as a way to bring consumers in. Our partners, MVPDs, affiliate stations, and advertisers see value in our sports. You’ll see us continue to play in that space, because it works for us.”

Serie A’s global rights are still up in the air, though, as both Sky Sports and DAZN are competing to secure rights for the international market. Per Serie A’s media rules, 14 of 20 votes need to reach an agreement for it to be official — currently, DAZN only has 11. According to Football-Italia, an Italian-focused soccer website, the 11 clubs were Atalanta, Fiorentina, Verona, Inter, Juventus, Lazio, Milan, Napoli, Parma, Udinese, and Torino. Cagliari left before the vote was taken, while Benevento, Bologna, Crotone, Genoa, Roma, Sampdoria, Sassuolo, and Spezia abstained. The teams will reconvene prior to the March 29 deadline.

We’ll learn more about ViacomCBS’ plans for Serie A in the near future. The 2020-21 season is currently underway, where Internazionale, AC Milan, Atalanta, and Juventus occupy the top 4 spots.

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