The 2023-24 season is the final one of Serie A’s media rights deal with CBS Sports in the US, but the Italian top-flight league may not be going anywhere.
CBS Sports and News EVP of Digital Jeff Gerttula told World Soccer Talk that the company was “having conversations” about re-upping its rights deal with Serie A.
“We’re focusing in on covering Serie A this season, and we’re having conversations [about renewing the deal],” said Jeff Gerttula, Executive Vice President, Digital, CBS Sports and CBS News and Stations. “We are thrilled with the storylines in Serie A, obviously Christian Pulisic and the success of Serie A in the [UEFA] tournaments last year. So, we’ve got a lot of momentum with that property.”
Earlier this year, JPMorgan was looking to finance Serie A’s media business at an estimated cost of between €700 million and €1 billion. Last year, Reuters reported that Serie A was looking to increase its international media rights revenue to around €1.1 billion in the 2024-27 cycle, up from €670 million this cycle. CBS is paying a reported $75 million annually for the league’s rights, meaning they’ll likely need to pay upwards of twice as much in a new rights deal.
However, it might be difficult for Serie A to receive that increase from CBS due to a lack of competition in the market. NBC has seemingly shown no desire to add a second league to its lineup alongside the Premier League. ESPN is cutting costs, and forking out a nine-figure sum for three years of another European soccer league might be a tough sell. Fox’s soccer focus has been on international competitions rather than domestic leagues (aside from MLS).
Apple will forever be mentioned as an option, but would it be prepared to commit to either a cheaper US-only deal or a more expensive global deal? Until Apple commits to a second long-term deal after MLS, color me skeptical.
CBS publicly discussing its interest in retaining the rights probably puts it into the clubhouse as the favorite, but we’ll see if another bidder ends up emerging.