World Cup back on Rai in Italy in 2022
Rai, the Italian public-service broadcaster, is returning as the home of the Fifa World Cup in 2022 after being awarded exclusive rights to the competition in its market.
The network will show all 64 matches from the tournament, to be held in Qatar, with at least 28, including the opening match, both semi-finals and final, to be on main channel Rai 1.
Fifa confirmed the award this afternoon, following earlier reports that Amazon had also landed a package of rights to the tournament.
Fifa launched the sales processes in Italy for media rights to the men’s 2022 World Cup and the women's tournament in 2023 on 14 January, with bids due by 16 February.
The 2018 World Cup was televised in Italy by commercial broadcaster Mediaset, marking the first time that Rai had not covered the showpiece tournament, which the national team surprisingly failed to qualify for.
However, Rai is showing Italy’s qualifiers for Qatar 2022, and the Azzurri have made a strong start, winning their first three matches.
The broadcaster opted out of bidding for the Uefa Champions League and Europa League in Italy, amid reports it was prioritising the next World Cup.
Rai had ultimately shared coverage of the 2010 and 2014 tournaments with Italian pay-television operator Sky Italia.
In a statement, Jean-Christophe Petit, Fifa’s director of media rights and content services, said: “After a very competitive tender process, we are pleased to have concluded a deal with a strong media partner in Italy for the Fifa World Cup 2022. We look forward to working with Rai to make this unique Fifa World Cup a great success and create an unforgettable experience for all Italian fans.”
Fifa is finalising the sales process for rights to the 2022 World Cup, with a deal with SuperSport, the South Africa-based pay-television broadcaster, announced on Thursday.
Rights have still to be awarded in a small number of territories, including Greece, where a tender is in progress and bids must be submitted by 20 April.