Serie B, Italy’s second tier, will appear in its entirety in the United States.
Friday, Helbiz Inc. announced a deal between Helbiz Media and FOX Networks Group to broadcast the league. The deal provides FOX the exclusive audiovisual rights for the league in the U.S. and the Caribbean.
Serie B Milestone
The deal signifies the first time the league will appear on U.S. TV. For Serie B itself, the deal represents the push to globalize the league and bring in more viewers.
Mauro Balata, the president of the league, talked about how significant the deal is for the league, Helbiz, and the sport in general.
“This season has marked an enormous international growth of Serie B following the recent broadcast agreements announced in several countries on three continents. Fox and the North American market was the missing piece. It was an ambitious goal of ours, only a dream until a few months ago and we are honored to have achieved it. It gives us great satisfaction to be able to reach our Italian fans who are in the United States.”
As Balata mentions, the league recently became available elsewhere. For example, Helbiz struck deals to broadcast Italy’s second tier in Germany, Spain, Latin America, Indonesia and other countries worldwide.
Surely, the market in the United States represented the cherry on top in terms of global distribution. For reference, there are an estimated 15.7 million Americans who identify as Italian. Now, not all of those people watch soccer religiously. However, the untapped market now has a resource for the second tier of Italy.
The deal itself
Helbiz, a global-leader in micro-mobility, recently announced Helbiz Media, the company’s streaming and entertainment service.
Helbiz Media is the exclusive distributor of the Serie B rights worldwide.
Most people will look to see if there is a price point FOX and Helbiz agreed upon for the rights to the league. As of now, there is no released information as to how much FOX paid for the rights. Therefore, all we do know is that the FOX’s rights to broadcast Serie B exist for three seasons. That includes the 2021/22 season that is currently underway.
Moreover, FOX will solely carry English coverage, according to Helbiz. There will also be Italian coverage of the league through Helbiz Live. Helbiz Live is simply the associated app for the company.
Lower level soccer in the U.S.
This acquisition by FOX represents the growth of lower leagues and their coverage in the States. For example, the English Championship, Bundesliga 2 and other secondary leagues in Europe are all available in the United States.
Additionally, geographically closer leagues like the USL or the Segunda Division de Mexico are available for U.S. viewers. In many ways, this represents the growth of the game in the United States. People are more likely to have soccer on throughout the day, and the addition of these smaller leagues just builds on the repertoire of soccer coverage in the States.
Serie B may not be the most intense league in the world, but it does have a track record of featuring major teams. Within the last 20 years, Juventus found themselves in the second tier after Calciopoli. Furthermore, Gianluigi Buffon is playing in his final seasons as a professional goalie, returning to childhood club Parma in the second level.
Fans of the Italian legend will now be able to watch him play out what may be his last season on FOX Networks.
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