Warner Bros. Discovery (WBD), the multinational media and entertainment giant, has today (September 14) announced the acquisition of rights in Italy to rugby union’s United Rugby Championship (URC) clubs competition for 2022-23.
WBD will cover the 16-team competition during its 2022-23 second season through the Eurosport 2 linear TV channel, as well as via the Discovery+ over-the-top streaming platform.
An Italian team fixture will be featured on Eurosport 2 In each round of the season, while all other games will be available on Discovery+.
To start the new season of coverage, Eurosport 2 will showcase Benetton Rugby taking on Glasgow Warriors tomorrow (September 15), with Discovery+ to cover Zebre Parma against Leinster on September 16.
Commercial broadcaster Mediaset covered the inaugural season of the URC free-to-air in Italy.
The URC features club sides from Scotland, Wales, Ireland, Italy, and South Africa. For its inaugural campaign last season.
Luca Stacul, sports director at WBD Italy, said: “It is great to have rugby back on Eurosport and we are proud to broadcast a high-level international competition such as the United Rugby Championship that has grown over the last year thanks to the participation of the best South African teams and Italy’s ever-growing pride and passion for the sport.”
Martin Anayi, the URC's chief executive, added: “We have seen the attraction of the United Rugby Championship in Italy over the past year and fans will have access to all 151 games via Discovery+ and Eurosport, who will be terrific partners as we help build the market in Italy and improve the positioning of rugby.”
Earlier this week, Italian public service broadcaster Rai entered into a deal to become a joint broadcaster of the country’s premier Top10 rugby union championship for the next two seasons.
The network will cover the 2022-23 and 2023-24 seasons of the Top10 alongside existing media rights partner Eleven Italy, the local division of the international subscription broadcaster.
In early September, meanwhile, automotive tire firm BKT was announced as the title sponsor in the northern hemisphere for the URC until 2025.