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Rai nets record audience as Italian football action returns

The return of Italian football following a break of over three months generated record viewing figures for Italian public broadcaster Rai, which aired the second legs of both Coppa Italia semi-finals over the weekend.

Friday evening’s clash between Juventus and AC Milan was watched by an average of 8.28 million viewers on Rai, equal to a 34-per-cent market share. The match was the first to be played since the Italian season was suspended because of the Covid-19 pandemic.

Rai’s figures for the match, which ended in a 0-0 draw as the Turin side progressed, represent Italy’s highest free-to-air audience for a football match this season.

The audience eclipsed Rai’s figure of 8.1 million viewers (and 30.8-per-cent share) for February’s first leg in Milan. It also bettered the highest Uefa Champions League audience of the season, namely the audience of 6.4 million viewers (and 23.5-per-cent share) registered by Mediaset’s Canale 5 channel for the Napoli-Barcelona match.

Napoli’s 1-1 draw with Inter Milan was watched by an average of 7.1 million viewers (a 32.3-per-cent share) on Rai. Napoli will face Juventus in Wednesday’s final after triumphing 2-1 on aggregate.

Rai holds the Coppa Italia broadcast rights from 2018-19 to 2020-21 in a deal worth €35.5m ($40m) per season.

Action from the top-tier Serie A will resume this weekend after a suspension of over three months.