One of Serie A's soon-to-be expired foreign broadcasting deals has just been extended, with British network BT Sport set to continue their coverage of Italian football until 2018.
The deal is a continuation of their current rights package, which allows them to show "up to" 380 Serie A matches live in the U.K. per season. Of course, they could also show one a week and still fulfill their obligations, which sometimes seems to be the case.
According to Simon Green, the head of BT Sport, the network wanted to retain the rights because "Serie A attracts some of the best players in the world and is a fantastic, competitive league featuring some of the legendary teams of European folklore, such as Juventus, AC Milan, Inter and Roma." And Napoli, but hey, who's counting.
Green's network initially rose up as a competitor to ESPN in the UK, then bought their holdings in England out entirely after securing Premier League broadcasting rights in 2013. BT Sport has also obtained exclusive broadcast rights in the U.K. for the Champions League and Europa League starting next season. They've had the rights to show Serie A matches in England since 2012
Of course, Italian teams won't see a since euro of this deal. The foreign TV distribution rights are held by MP & Silva, a company that specializes in sports media rights distribution. They agreed to a new (underwhelming) deal with Serie A in October, and have controlled Serie A's foreign TV deals since 2011. That chafes all the more because BT Sport were a big part of the almost €7 billion domestic TV rights deal for Premier League matches in England that was agreed earlier this month. Getting a piece of that action would have been nice.