Serie A to BreakawayBy: Daryl | April 30th, 2009
News from Italy today is that Serie A clubs will soon be leaving their Serie B brothers behind to form a breakaway top flight. Think of it as the Italian Premier League if you like, though it almost definitely won’t be called that. Let’s hope not anyway.
It all started with an argument about how the TV money is split between the top two divisions, with Serie B clubs strapped for cash and wanting a bigger share of the TV money pie. The financial atomic bomb of a breakaway top flight has long been threatened, but I’m not sure anyone really expected it to happen.
“Nineteen Serie A clubs have today discussed starting a ‘Serie A League’,” a league statement said.
“The decision has been taken given it has been impossible to reach an agreement with Serie B clubs.”
So, assuming this goes through… what does it mean for Italian football?
First and foremost, it’s clearly bad bad news for Serie B clubs like, say, Treviso who are already in financial trouble. I don’t see how a second tier league can go solo and get more money for their TV deal than they did while negotiating in tandem with the top flight.
As far as Serie A goes, don’t expect an English Premier League style revolution. Yes, the new league will probably get a more lucrative TV deal, but it’s not going to be the sort of silly money that jumpstarted English football.
The success of the English deal rested on the launch of Sky Sports, who repackaged the new “English Premier League” and marketed the hell out of it in order to reach a much wider audience.
The new Serie A might have a new logo, maybe even a newish title, but it will likely be business as usual with a few extra euros from TV revenue thrown in.
So what we might be looking at here is a deal that doesn’t have any major major benefits for Italian football’s top flight, but deals a serious blow to the lower division teams. The rich get richer and the poor get poorer. What else is new?