Discovery bolsters ties to Italian rugby with fresh FIR deal

The Discovery Italia division of media and entertainment company Discovery Communications has agreed a four-year deal with the Italian Rugby Federation (FIR) for the rights to the national team’s autumn Test matches.

The deal expands Discovery’s commitment to Italian rugby union on the back of its existing contract for the Six Nations national team tournament.

The new agreement will run through to the autumn of 2018 and commences with Italy’s warm-up games for the 2015 Rugby World Cup. Italy takes on Scotland in Turin on August 22 and Edinburgh on August 29, before facing Wales in Cardiff on September 5.

The games will be broadcast by Discovery’s male-orientated digital-terrestrial channel DMAX, which will then move on to televise all of Italy’s autumn Test matches from 2016 to 2018.

FIR president Alfredo Gavazzi said: “Ensuring that the national team Test matches are broadcast live on the same channel that already successfully conveys the RBS 6 Nations is not only a great tool to convey rugby towards an ever wider audience, but also a significant opportunity for working together with all our stakeholders and broaden the base of practitioners and enthusiasts with shared strategies.”

In September 2013, Discovery Italia acquired the exclusive media rights in Italy to the Six Nations for the four editions of the annual tournament from 2014 to 2017.