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Mediaset confirms World Cup rights deal

Italian broadcaster Mediaset has confirmed the acquisition of exclusive rights for football’s 2018 Fifa World Cup.

Mediaset has reportedly agreed to pay €78m ($92m) for the exclusive rights – less than half the value of the fee paid for the rights of the previous two editions of the tournament.

Mediaset said that it would show “free live coverage” of all 64 matches.

Italy, which won the World Cup as recently as 2006, failed to qualify for next year’s tournament in Russia after losing to Sweden in a play-off. It will be the first time in 60 years that Italy will not play at the World Cup.

Italian state broadcaster Rai, which reportedly tabled a bid of €65m for the rights, has been the traditional broadcaster of World Cup games in Italy.

Mediaset has committed to showing games on free-to-air channels Canale 5, Italia 1 and Rete 4, according to reports earlier this week.

The sales process in Italy has been jointly handled by Fifa and the MP & Silva agency, the governing body’s sales representative in the country for the 2018 and 2022 tournaments.