Rugby World Cup Limited (RWCL) has announced the appointment of SKY Italia as a rights-holding broadcaster for Rugby World Cup 2015, extending the successful partnership between rugby's showcase 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 TV, digital and mobile offering, meaning that more people in Italy than ever before will have access to the tournament between 18 September and 31 October.
The deal provides a further boost for rugby in Italy and further underscores 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.
RWCL Chairman Bernard Lapasset: "Rugby World Cup Limited is delighted to be renewing its successful relationship with SKY Italia. 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 open their Rugby World Cup 2015 Pool D campaign against France at Twickenham on 19 September and will be looking to impress in a tournament that will see their matches screened to a bigger audience than ever before.
SKY Italia Sport Rights, Programming and Production Director Matteo Mammì said: "We are thrilled to again be appointed rights holding broadcaster for Rugby World Cup, one of the most prestigious sporting events in the world. 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."
FIR President Alfredo Gavazzi said: "Rugby World Cup is the sport's showcase event, and the global rugby family is waiting for the 2015 edition with huge anticipation. 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 SKYItalia 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."
World Rugby Head of Commercial, Broadcast and Marketing Murray Barnett added: "Italy is an important market for Rugby and Rugby World Cup and we are excited about SKY Italia's production plans and passion to inspire new audiences and participants throughout Italy."
Rugby World Cup 2011 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, delivering an unprecedented broadcast experience.