Italian broadcasters take sports TV rights
January 31, 2018
From Branislav Pekic in Rome
Leading Italian broadcasters RAI, Mediaset, Sky Italia and Discovery Italia have secured important deals for major sporting events.
After six years, the UEFA Champions League returns to RAI with live and exclusive coverage of the best match of Italian teams on Wednesdays during 2018-2019. Thanks to a deal with Sky Italia, the holder of the Italian TV rights to the tournament, RAI will also be able to broadcast the two semi-finals, the final and European Super Cup.
The public broadcaster has also signed an agreement with UEFA for the exclusive (free and pay-TV) rights for the qualifying matches of Italian national squad for both the 2020 European Championship and the 2022 World Cup, plus the Nations League and all international friendlies. Last but not least, RAI has secured the exclusive FTA rights to the best 27 matches of 2020 European Championship.
Earlier, commercial broadcaster Mediaset bought the Italian TV rights for the 2018 World Cup in Russia, albeit without the participation of Italy.
Sky Italia has snatched the exclusive Italian TV rights for the Formula 1 World Championship for the period 2018-2020. Starting from March 2018, the pay-TV operator will show the Grand Prix races on all platforms (satellite, streaming on NOW TV and mobile on Sky Go). Sky Italia’s FTA DTT channel TV8 will show 4 GP races in 2018, while RAI will carry live coverage of the Italian GP at Monza. Sky Italia has also acquired the live TV rights for all the 51 matches of the 2020 European Football Championship, of which it will show 24 exclusively.
For its part, Discovery Italia has renewed the contract for the Six Nations rugby tournament until 2021 (TV and online). All 15 matches of this year’s event will be available on DTT FTA channel Dmax, with Italy’s first match scheduled for February 4th against England.
However, the Italian broadcasters risk losing the main prize – the Serie A football matches for the 2018-2021 seasons. The bids filed by Mediaset and Sky Italia were judged as too low and talks are now underway with Spain’s Mediapro. If no agreement is reached, a new tender will be launched by the Italian Football Federation. Also up for renewal are the TV rights for the Italian Cup for the period 2018-2021, currently broadcast by RAI.