Profile: Infront Group Italy, the empire of sports rights and facilities
Italian soccer TV rights for the two main Soccer Leagues, Serie A and Serie B are a complex matter and are presently managed as a consultant by Infront Group from its Milan headquarters, via Deruta 20. Part of a bigger Swiss group, Infront also has headquarters in Austria, Germany, France, Finland, Sweden, China, and Singapore.
The present portfolio of Infront today comprises, besides soccer Serie A and Serie B, cultural and sports events, like “Coppa del Mondo di Sci” the “Ferrari Challenge” or the “Europei di volley”.
And this is just a part of the story, since in 2010 Infront was the Italian promoter of NBA Europe Live, and last year they were involved in the World Boxing Championship.
Company President is Marco Bogarelli (brother of Bruno Bogarelli founder of Interactive Facilities) and the Group was born in 2006 following the incorporating of Media Partners (founded in 1995 by Marco Bogarelli and already a leader in Italy in selling TV sports rights) from central organization Infront Sports & Media AG (headed by Philippe Blatter, nephew of Joseph, present president of FIFA), with general headquarter in Zug, Switzerland.
Its mission is to handle in the most integrated way possible all services involved in the world of sports, meant as a central element in the entertainment industry. This involves production contents, rights and events, organizing and marketing, sponsoring consultancy and hospitality.
From a production point of view Infront can supply technical high quality services through a proprietary and independent TV production centre, which is complete with all the necessary facilities, including reception, post production, and signal delivery (also via satellite). Among the many services rendered, are cross-media formats, sports comments and voice overs, streaming and encoding.
TV Production Director Infront Italy, Claudio Cavallotti, recently interviewed in Italian magazine Millecanali (ilsole24ore Ed.) described some of the main technical structures.
The production centre is composed of TV studios and post production facilities. In detail there are four TV studios of 1300, 1000, 400 and 300 sqm. The centre is also provided with a video master control room in order to interchange and root all video signals incoming from national and international TV operators capable of handling SD, HD and 3D signals.
Due to the number of sports events followed, it is impossible to follow everything with proprietary facilities so they often implement external service companies.
The general trend is to acquire the rights for the complete production of an event in order to achieve maximum quality, though some times it happens to offer only shooting or distributing services.
These external services, such as Host Broadcast Services following the Serie A matches, have been carefully selected together with Lega Calcio to guarantee the best possible quality.
Being Infront the advisor for the Lega, any decision is taken in complete cooperation, and personalizing the different platform is left to the service provider who has nevertheless a stiff technical “capitolato” (a set of rules) to respect. Such companies have a variable length contract connected to the selling rights of the event.