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Discovery signs off on WWE rights deal in Italy

AJ Styles fights against Humberto Carrillo during the WWE Crown Jewel pay-per-view in Riyadh (by FAYEZ NURELDINE/AFP via Getty Images)

International media group Discovery will be the new Italian broadcaster of wrestling’s WWE after reaching a “multi-year” agreement with the rights-holder.

Discovery will exploit the Italian rights on its premium OTT service DPlay Plus and on its free-to-air channel DMAX.

Discovery was expected to replace pay-television broadcaster Sky Italia as the rights-holder, as reported by SportBusiness Media earlier this year.

The move followed Sky’s decision to drop the property from its UK and German divisions with the similar issues of dwindling audiences, reduced exclusivity and lack of access to pay-per-view events all understood to be at the heart of those decisions. Sky’s most recent WWE deal in Italy was for five years, from 2015-16 to 2019-20.

In this new deal, DPlay Plus will broadcast Monday Night Raw and SmackDown programmes live, while NXT will be available on-demand on DPlay Plus on Thursday mornings. All programming will be available with both English and Italian commentary.

All three flagship programmes will also be broadcast free-to-air on DMAX with Italian commentary.

WWE’s two monthly pay-per-view events, WrestleMania and SummerSlam, will be broadcast exclusively on the WWE Network in Italy. WWE Network is priced at $9.99 (€8.87) per month with the first month free. DPlay Plus is priced at €3.99 per calendar month.