The extended relationship will go on until 2022’s controversial FIFA World Cup in Qatar, with Rai showing friendly games from the country’s men’s and women’s teams, along with the under-21s and youth teams.
The announcement comes as no surprise, and furthers a relationship between the footballing body and the broadcaster that has lasted since 1928.
Rai managing director Fabrizio Salini said: “In these 90 years the story of the national team has been linked to that of Rai through the values of loyalty and inclusion. The national team’s shirt is also that of Rai.”
“We are really pleased and proud to have brought the women’s National Team to Rai 1, it was a natural and obligatory choice. This choice is the result of our reasoning: the women’s National Team deserved this stage. We have defeated the prejudices.”
FIGC president Gabriele Gravina said: “Rai is the home of the national teams. Today we are in our home. I must thank Rai and its staff, who follow us on every trip. We represent an important duo which has been able to been able to narrate the history, the periods of changes, even the disappointments of our country, but always with the strength of enthusiasm. And the numbers show it.
“There’s an enormous following. When it comes to our sport, there’s not just a sporting aspect, there’s also a need to highlight the social dimension. This has been done successfully: we’ve been able to share new stories while looking at the social side of things. I need to thank Rai for how much it’s invested in women’s football, a phenomenon that has come about in no time at all.”
Similar to its record-breaking popularity in the UK and France, The women’s World Cup in France saw record viewership in Italy. The quarter-final match between Italy and the Netherlands on June 29 saw a record amount of viewers for an afternoon game: 5,223,000 (a 37.90% share), and a peak of 5,360,000 (a 40.26% share).
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