Serie A has come in for a lot of grief over the TV broadcast deal it signed back in 2015, which paid the league €943 per year. While that sounds like a big pile of cash (and it is), it paled in comparison to the other big European leagues. The Bundesliga just signed a deal last year that would pay €1.16 billion annually. La Liga gets €1.6 billion, although that’s mostly on the strength of Barcelona and Real Madrid. The Premier League, though, is the gold standard, earning €1.95 billion per year. Serie A, though, is catching up now, as Spanish media giant MediaPro is now offering €1.5 billion for broadcast rights. That will be in addition to the current deal for international broadcast rights, which pays €371 million per year.
We count three serious knock-on effects here. The first, of course, is that Serie A teams will have more money to spend on players, both in fees to bring in top players and in wages to retain them. Second, that extra money will help more clubs turn a profit, which will in turn make the league a lot more stable for big foreign investors. Third, as this influx of money strengthens Italian clubs, they should perform better in continental competitions, raising the profile of the league and attracting more players and more viewers, which will turn into more money down the road. This could return Serie A to a prominence it hasn’t enjoyed since the 1990s.
For Fiorentina specifically, this money could make a huge difference. It could spur the Della Valles to invest big in the team again. More realistically, though, it could convince them to sell, which their recent moves to offload big contracts and move the club further into the black could indicate. The extra cash could also go towards the fabled Mercafir stadium. If the club’s recent investment in young talent pays off, we could see the Viola rise to the top just as an expanded revenue stream enters their coffers, which could propel the club upward for a long time.
On the other hand, this is a football blog, and we’d much rather write about football than media rights. While the financial side of the game is inextricably linked with performance on the pitch, nobody wants this to become an arena for Darren Rovell’s post-human fascination with Brands™ at the expense of marveling together over these astounding athletes do stuff that nobody else can do. When people talk about being “contra il calcio moderno,” this is exactly what they’re referring to: the absurd sums of money being carelessly tossed around over what is, at its roots and at its best, a game.