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Rai launches classic sports channel to fill content hole

Italian public-service broadcaster Rai has moved to counter the current gap in content left by the cancellation or postponement of a myriad of sporting events in the coming months by launching a dedicated archive-content channel, Raisport Classic.

The channel launched yesterday (March 17) and will air archive sports content between the hours of midday and midnight every day with a focus on Italian sport.

The free-to-air channel will be available on digital-terrestrial platforms.

The broadcaster has said that it will cover a range of sports, including football, athletics, basketball, volleyball, cycling, skiing and several others.

Broadcasters have been under intense pressure as to how they can demonstrate value while sports are put on hold due to the spread of the Covid-19 virus. Some pay-television broadcasters, including Nent, Sky Sports and Teleclub, have either reduced, paused or temporarily waived their subscription fees due to the dearth of live content. Others have removed paywalls for a limited time.

Italy has been the hardest hit nation in Europe by the virus and several properties that Rai holds the rights to have been postponed or cancelled, including cycling’s Giro d’Italia, Italian basketball’s Lega Basket and Italian football’s Serie B.