Napoli president Aurelio De Laurentiis has claimed that soccer should be free to watch from all over the world. The Italian businessman made the comments during a recent appearance at the Financial Times Business of Football Summit in London. The meeting involved a series of top officials within the sport from various nations.

“It should be free for everyone. If you want to retain an audience, you have to live on free TV,” proclaimed De Laurentiis.

“And, as an entrepreneur, you have to know how to curate big publicity. It also matters how you show football. Not just in the stadiums, which are dilapidated and not comfortable for spectators in Italy, I’m also talking about on TV.”

Serie A, Premier League among top soccer divisions to break broadcasting records

Despite the claims by De Laurentiis, television deals between broadcasting companies and soccer leagues are only growing. In fact, Serie A‘s latest domestic deal, the division in which Napoli features in, recently sold for $4.77 billion. DAZN and Sky Italia will split the broadcasting duties over the course of the five-year agreement. The deal will be in place at the start of the 2024/25 Serie A season.

The Premier League‘s domestic television deal garnered even more money in England. BBC, Sky Sports, and TNT Sports will split live broadcasts of the top flight for a combined $8.45 billion over a four-year period. This deal will start from the 2025/26 campaign. These agreements also do not even include foreign broadcasting rights, which help bring in even more money to the leagues.

De Laurentiis asserts that soccer should look at how Formula 1 is broadcast. The global racing division remains the most popular league in the sport around the world and uses unique technology in their broadcasts.

“How can it be that in Formula 1, the images make you feel as if you are in the cockpit with the drivers, but you don’t ever get that with football?” asks the Napoli executive.

“I would like to choose my own way, and I always say that the best example of how to broadcast a match is the World Cup final between Argentina and France. But football has aged as a sport, We should sit down at the table and reflect, but our table is a big circus where you can’t stop to think too much, otherwise you’re labelled as a rebel.”

Napoli exec is unlikely to get his wish regarding free live soccer games

Live soccer matches becoming free for all fans seems highly unlikely anytime soon. Broadcasting deals are only getting more lucrative for those involved and that will almost certainly continue into the future. In fact, television deals seem to break their previous monetary record every time a new agreement is in place.

However, De Laurentiis could be on to something with how technology can improve soccer games. While the matches may not soon become free for fans, viewers could benefit from more access from the pitch to their TVs.

Photo credits: IMAGO / Gribaudi/ImagePhoto : IMAGO / Pacific Press Agency