Serie A aims to raise 3.5 billion euros from domestic TV rights sale - sources

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FILE PHOTO: Italy's Lega Serie A headquarters in Milan

MILAN (Reuters) - Italy's top flight soccer league Serie A aims to raise at least 1.15 billion euros ($1.4 billion) per season over the next three years from the sale of pay-TV rights for its home market, two sources with knowledge of the matter said on Friday.

At a meeting on Friday, clubs approved the terms of a tender that will likely be launched in January, the sources said.

In a statement, the league said it had approved the term of the tender sale, without disclosing its mininum targets.

Under a three-year contract expiring in 2021, Serie A raised 973 million euros per season from the sale of domestic licenses to Comcast's unit SKY and global sports provider DAZN.

Broadcasting rights are the main source of revenue for Serie A and are increasingly crucial as matches are played in empty stadiums due to COVID-19 restrictions and companies shrink advertising budgets.

In a bid to weather a drop in revenue due to the pandemic, the Italian league is hiving off its media rights business and selling a 10% stake in the newly created unit to a private equity consortium for 1.7 billion euros.

Analysts say the next Serie A broadcasting rights sale would face challenging market conditions.

While the novel coronavirus crisis will prompt traditional broadcasters to rein in their cost base, the tender could also be affected by an antitrust ban preventing Italy's top pay TV player SKY from distributing exclusive content on its streaming platform.

SKY took the lion's share in the previous Serie A domestic rights sale.

Earlier on Friday, in a boost for Italian soccer, Amazon secured exclusive rights to screen top European Champions League matches in Italy on its Prime Video platform for the 2021-2024 seasons, in its first foray into broadcasting sports events in the country.

($1 = 0.8168 euros)

(Reporting by Elvira Pollina; Editing by Andrew Cawthorne and Ken Ferris)