There will be no going back: streaming in the world of football is here to stay. And, above all, to grow. The numbers of the alliance between Tim and Dazn to broadcast Serie A for the three-year period 2021-2024 say so: although the progression of subscribers has been – at least for the moment – slower than expected, the number of broadband accesses is in continuous increase. The single championship days are followed by about 7 million people, confirming that football is a real killer application.
And on the other hand, to understand how important the ball is in the economy, but above all in Italian society, it is sufficient to remember how in the 1960s the rights to Serie A cost around 800 thousand euros, while in the last round, the Lega Calcio has grossed € 1.4 billion – including international rights. Just to broadcast Serie A in the home, Dazn has put 840 million euros on the plate.
Enough for football to also leave the satellite to move to streaming, exactly as it is happening in the world of cinema and entertainment. Since the beginning of the championship, therefore, the habits of the fans are progressively changing: now they can follow their team not only from the sofa at home, but also on a train or car journey, at work between meetings or in vacation from the beach.
And so football has once again discovered the engine capable of pushing the country towards that digital innovation that Italy needs and that has been placed at the center of the National Recovery and Resilience Plan. As if to say that the challenge for the modernization of the Peninsula passes through the change of football on TV. «Football – has explained several times the CEO of Tim, Luigi Gubitosi – is one of the most important reasons for aggregation, interest and generator of passion that Italians do not give up. Moving from satellite to streaming, live matches will bring fans and spectators with it. This will make an important contribution to the digitization of the country “.
On the other hand, it is certainly not the first time this has happened. And just take a dip in the past, in the Italy of the economic boom of the 1960s, to find yourself surrounded by portable radios tuned together on “All football minute by minute”: the historic Rai program that debuted in 1959 and that straddles the following decades it reached ratings of 25 million people. Even in that case, football was the push to buy an object that would forever change the use of audio content: no longer just in an armchair at home, but wherever the radio signal was able to reach the portable antennas.
From radio to streaming, the leap is long, but the path is dotted with historic stages. First the highlights on television, then the real debut of pay TV with a historic date: 29 August 1993, when Tele + aired Lazio-Foggia. It was the first paid live match broadcast in our country: it ended with an unforgettable 0-0, but it was a point of no return. For pay TV and for Serie A itself. At the beginning it was an event for a few, subscriptions were expensive and not within everyone’s reach, but Italy discovered a new ritual: that of postponing at the bar, or in a pizzeria with friends. Then it was the turn of Stream, in 1996, from whose marriage with Tele + Sky was born in 2003. It is also the turn of the Gioco Calcio platform, but it lasts the space of a season.
In the meantime, however, satellite dishes enter our daily life. Subscribers are slowly growing and reaching 5 million, as are the attacks that flood the roofs and balconies, changing the very image of the cities. The transition to digital terrestrial is also somewhat accelerated by football: these are the golden years of Mediaset Premium, the years of the decoder to see the new television and the football helps to push the transition. The challenge today is that it will succeed once again by pushing the spread of broadband: to get Italy out of the last positions in Europe.