Lega Serie B kicks off Series B TV

Lega Serie B, Italy’s second division soccer league, begins a new era this weekend with the launch of Serie B TV, a digital terrestrial television service operated in partnership with Europa 7, the digital broadcaster.

The service will begin its live coverage with Saturday’s match between Juve Stabia and Bari, and a total of nine channels will be used to cover all 11 matches each week. The programming will also include playoff and relegation matches plus highlights and features on Serie B clubs.

Serie B TV is set to run for the next three seasons on the Europa 7 HD platform, which now broadcasts with DVB-T2 digital terrestrial technology, offering better picture quality than that provided by Sky Italia, the broadcaster of the top-tier Serie A, according to Francesco di Stefano, the president of Europa 7.

Europa 7 obtained a national DTT multiplex in 2010 and hosts 12 alternating channels. A subscription to Serie B TV costs €99.90 ($128.79) per year, on top of one-off charges of €129.90 for a 7-Box decoder and €39.90 for activation.

Di Stefano said he expects Serie B TV to break even in three years, on projected revenues of €10 million and up to 150,000 subscribers.

The venture is a new direction for Di Stefano, who fought a protracted legal battle against the Italian government to gain a national multiplex for Europa 7. He recently said that the Serie B venture could be a model for Serie A, and revealed that he has been in talks with the organisers over the possibility of broadcasting Formula 1 motor racing and MotoGP motor cycling on the platform in the future.

Meanwhile, Serie B has expanded its reach beyond Italy, with deals concluded in recent weeks with Al Jazeera, the premium sports broadcaster in the Middle East and North Africa, and ESPN in Latin America.

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