Sky Italia has been appointed as a right-holding broadcaster for this year's Rugby World Cup in England, extending the successful partnership between the sport's showpiece event and Italy's leading sports broadcaster.
Under the terms of the deal, Sky Italia will broadcast live coverage of all 48 matches and will also deliver a comprehensive television, digital and mobile offering, meaning more people in Italy than ever before will have access to the tournament, due to start on September 18 and conclude with the final at Twickenham Stadium in London on October 31.
The deal provides a further boost for rugby in Italy and further reinforces the broadcaster's commitment to the promotion of the sport, topping a strong portfolio of premium events, currently including the Rugby Championship, Super Rugby and the European Rugby Champions Cup.
"Rugby World Cup Limited (RWCL) is delighted to be renewing its successful relationship with Sky Italia," said RWCL chairman Bernard Lapasset.
"Italy is major and thriving rugby market and this exciting deal will enable our showcase event to reach out, engage and inspire new audiences across Italy.
"This extension with a highly-valued broadcast partner underscores our commitment to ensuring fan experience is at the heart of a Rugby World Cup that promises to be the most viewed, most engaged and best-connected tournament to date."
Italy are due to open their World Cup Pool D campaign against France at Twickenham Stadium on September 19, and will be looking to impress in a tournament that will see their matches screened to a bigger audience than ever before.
"We are thrilled to again be appointed rights holding broadcaster for Rugby World Cup, one of the most prestigious sporting events in the world," said Sky Italia sport rights, programming and production director Matteo Mammì.
"Our strong collaboration with Rugby World Cup dates back to 2003 and we are proud to be projecting the 2015 edition to audiences across Italy.
"Rugby World Cup is the jewel of the crown of our sport offering, which has never been so wide in terms of properties and events.
"We look forward to supporting the Italian national team on their journey."
The 2011 Rugby World Cup in New Zealand was the most-watched of the eight tournaments to date with 125 licensees delivering coverage to 207 territories.
England 2015 looks set to be the most-viewed rugby event of all time with a record number of rights holding broadcasters set to deliver over 20,000 hours of action via broadcast and digital platforms in a record number of territories.
"Rugby World Cup is the sport's showcase event, and the global rugby family is waiting for the 2015 edition with huge anticipation," said Italian Rugby Federation President Alfredo Gavazzi.
"I have no doubt the 2015 edition, in England and Cardiff, will be a landmark occasion for our sport and one where Italians can stand shoulder to shoulder in support of the Azzurri and share the memories with fans from all over the world.
"We are delighted that RWCL has chosen Sky Italia and looking forward to working with the broadcaster to deliver great coverage of this fantastic competition and grow excitement and participation within Italy as we look forward to what promises to be an exciting tournament."
Founded in 2003, Sky Italia was the first Italian broadcaster to offer HD and live 3D programming, with its customer base reaching 4.73 million by the end December 2014.
It broadcast last year's Winter Olympics in Sochi and the 2014 FIFA World Cup in Brazil.
It also has the broadcast rights for the first-ever European Games in Baku later this year and the 2016 Olympics in Rio de Janeiro.
Earlier this month it was confirmed that Sky Television New Zealand will broadcast all 48 matches at the 2015 Rugby World Cup, following their widely praised coverage of the 2011 edition.
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