The showcase event kicks off on 20 September with Italy playing their opening match on 22 September against Namibia at Hanazono Rugby Stadium.
Under the deal, Rai will live broadcast Italy's four pool matches on Rai2 and a minimum of 17 additional matches, including the opening match, the quarter-finals, semi-finals, bronze final and Rugby World Cup final on 2 November.
The exciting deal for rugby fans reflects World Rugby's commitment to Japan 2019 being the most accessible Rugby World Cup ever, attracting and inspiring a new generation of fans and participants through extensive free-to-air coverage and broadcast, digital and social media innovation.
World Rugby Chairman Sir Bill Beaumont said: “World Rugby is delighted to be welcoming Rai to the Rugby World Cup 2019 rights-holding broadcast family. Japan 2019 is on track to be the most widely viewed rugby event ever and this deal is a strong reflection of our commitment to reach new fans.
“Italy is a proud and growing rugby nation and extensive coverage via a national broadcaster with a passion for world-class sport is very exciting for the continued growth of the sport across Italy.”
Pinnacle of the game
FIR President Alfredo Gavazzi added: “Rugby World Cup represents the pinnacle of the game, and we’re glad our national squad will be capable of virtually reaching everybody in the country, live on Rai2. It will be highly beneficial to keep on developing the game in Italy, reaching new audiences while the competition progresses.”
Rai CEO Fabrizio Salini said: “We are delighted to broadcast rugby on our mainstream channels, and above all we are proud to be able to offer the Italian public an iconic event like the Rugby World Cup. Our broadcast relationship with the Azzurri, including the men’s and women’s national football teams and major world and European athletics championships, is definitely enriched with an extraordinary, inclusive sport with deep values, exactly as we want Rai to be.”
Japan 2019 will reach the broadest rugby audience in history with the action broadcast to more than 800 million households in 217 territories, surpassing the 683 million homes record in 2015. This underlines World Rugby’s commitment to expand the sport’s reach from its current 800 million following and to engage with the next generation of fans across the globe.
General ticket sales for Rugby World Cup 2019 are ongoing. Fans can also opt for official travel and hospitality options. Further details can be found via www.rugbyworldcup.com/tickets.
Join the conversation using #RWC2019 @rugbyworldcup.