IMG replaces Rai as Giro d’Italia global rights partner

The IMG Media agency will sell rights for the Giro d’Italia and other Italian cycling races after sealing a global distribution deal with event operator RCS Sport for the next eight years, from 2013 to 2020.

IMG has replaced Italian state broadcaster Rai as the worldwide distributor of RCS Sport’s cycling properties, which include the Milano-Sanremo, Tirreno-Adriatico, Strade Bianche, Gran Piemonte and Lombardia classic races, as well as the Giro.

RCS Sport’s managing director, Michele Acquarone, said that the agency was in talks with Rai, which broadcasts the Giro in Italy, about its commitment to the event. “I think the Giro d’Italia has to be on national television,” he told Reuters, responding to a question of whether the race could follow Formula One motor-racing by moving to pay-television in Italy.

RCS Sport chief executive Giacomo Catano said that IMG would help to broaden exposure of the Giro, which is one of cycling’s three grand tours alongside the Tour de France and Vuelta a España. “RCS Sport has a strong international approach and we see IMG Media as the right partner to further develop our global strategy,” Catano said.

RCS Sport said that the 2012 Giro, which was held in May, was broadcast in 165 countries. Reuters said that the 2012 Tour de France, which will start tomorrow will be shown in 190 countries worldwide.

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