Rai acquires ATP Finals free-to-air rights until 2023

Italian public broadcaster Rai has acquired a free-to-air rights package for the ATP Finals from 2021 to 2023.

The deal gives Rai the first pick of matches on each matchday. It was agreed with ATP Media, the tour’s commercial arm, and the IMG agency.

Rai is understood to have fought off interest from commercial broadcaster Mediaset during the bidding.

The rights were acquired as part of the recent tender process that saw pay-television broadcaster Sky Italia win exclusive rights to the nine ATP 1000 Masters tournaments along with the rights to the season-end ATP Finals over the same three-year period.

Sky’s tennis portfolio also includes some ATP 500 and 250 tournaments, as well as rights to the Wimbledon grand slam event through to 2022.

Both deals are extensions of existing deals signed in 2019, which expire at the end of this calendar year.

The Rai and Sky deals cover the first three years of a five-year hosting deal in the Italian city of Turin for the ATP Finals. It will be the first time that the ATP Finals have been hosted in Italy.

Angelo Binaghi, president of the Italian Tennis Federation (FIT), had announced around the time of the hosting deal that a five-year deal had been struck for the federation’s SuperTennis channel to acquire the ATP Finals rights. However, SuperTennis did not, ultimately, acquire any rights to the Finals.