Perform-owned over-the-top (OTT) service DAZN has secured Italian rights to the Guinness Pro14 until 2021.
The cross-hemisphere rugby union championship will air on DAZN’s Italian streaming and broadcast platforms, ensuring fans of Benetton Rugby and Zebre Rugby Club will see every one of their team's home and away games, along with the play-off games and final.
DAZN now completes the line-up of home-based broadcasters for the Guinness Pro14 which includes Premier Sport and S4C in the UK; Eir Sport and TG4 for the Republic of Ireland; and Super Sport in South Africa.
DAZN will be available to all Italian Mediaset Premium subscribers in Italy on smart TVs, mobile phones, tablets, PCs and gaming consoles and also available to Sky Italia customers.
The OTT platform has pledged to replicate the new production standards implemented across the Pro14 to give Italian viewers a greater, more consistent viewing experience.
Martin Anayi, Pro14 chief executive welcomed DAZN to the championship’s broadcast family, saying: "The entry of DAZN to the Guinness Pro14 is a game changer for the coverage of club rugby in Italy.
“Now rugby fans in Italy can access more games than ever before from the Guinness Pro14 across digital platforms that work best for them. Innovation is a key driver in everything we do and the arrival of DAZN also ensures that our production standards will be raised right across the championship.
"We are very optimistic about what the new season will bring for Benetton Rugby and Zebre Rugby Club after they each set a record number of wins last season. Both the Italian Federation and Pro14 Rugby have been searching for a broadcaster who will champion our tournament in Italy and we are thrilled that DAZN share that vision and have committed to us until 2021."
Jacopo Tonoli, DAZN chief commercial officer, added: "This is news that establishes DAZN as a must-have for Italian rugby fans, who now have a better and fairer way to access some of the best European rugby on offer.
"[This] news is part of DAZN’s broader aim to start a brand-new era for sports broadcasting in Italy. After months in the making, we’re proud to unveil a hugely compelling line-up of some of the world’s best sport, all in one place, for one affordable monthly fee and no long-term contract."
With rights secured for the Pro14’s home-based broadcasters Dermot Rigley, the tournament’s commercial and marketing director, said the focus would now switch to international rights sales: "There is a lot of demand for [Pro14’s brand of rugby] in North America, Australia, New Zealand and throughout the rest of the globe.
“We look forward now to finalising our worldwide rights deals which will be a further boost to the Guinness Pro14 and our teams."