RUGBY! - the monthly Italian rugby magazine - has become the official Italian Media partner to Europe's premier club rugby tournament.
RUGBY! and their sister weekly newspaper La Meta have been confirmed by ERC, the Heineken Cup organisers, as the first Media partner for the elite club competition in Italy and will work with ERC to further promote both the Heineken Cup and European Challenge Cup tournaments in the growing Italian market.
The announcement follows earlier good news for the tournament in Italy with confirmation that Sky Italia and ERC have agreed a four-year deal through to 2010 / 2011 to broadcast live Heineken Cup action in Italy. Sky Italia's coverage will start this weekend with three games being broadcast live including the clash of Benetton Treviso and Newport Gwent Dragons.
As Media partners RUGBY! magazine will assist with ERC's promotional campaign for the tournament's Pool stages from December to January, 2008, and for the 13th Heineken Cup final, which will be played in Cardiff's Millennium Stadium on Saturday, 24 May, 2008.
RUGBY! has already worked with ERC on the development of an Italian version of ercrugby.com - www.ercrugby.com/ita - the official website of the Heineken Cup and European challenge Cup, which was launched November 2006 and has seen a significant growth in the numbers of Italian visitors to the site.
Welcoming the new Italian partnership Jean-Pierre Lux, ERC Chairman said: "Italy has been a key part of both European tournaments over the past 12 seasons.
"The profile of the tournament in Italy is growing each season and we believe the promotion offered by RUGBY! and their sister weekly rugby publication La Meta together with the excellent coverage through Sky Italia will help to further develop the profile of the tournaments at a time when rugby in Italy is growing."
Enrico Borra, editor of both RUGBY! and La Meta, added: "We are extremely proud to be the first Media partners to the Heineken Cup in Italy. We started working with ERC in 2006 and we really appreciate the relationship that we have built with ERC.
"This is a huge achievement for our young but growing publications and great boost for us as we continue to promote rugby and increase it's popularity in our soccer-driven nation."
The RUGBY! and La Meta brands will be visible at all Heineken Cup games in Italy and the publications join the Sunday Times (UK), the Irish Independent (Ireland), Midi Olympique and RMC (France) as Heineken Cup Media partners.
The Heineken Cup has featured Italian teams since the inaugural tournament in 1995. This season two Italian teams - Super 10 champions Benetton Treviso and Viadana - are competing with teams from France, England, Wales, Scotland and Ireland. Four Italian sides are competing in the 2007 / 2008 European Challenge Cup - Overmach Rugby Parma, GRAN Parma, Petraca Rugby and Rugby Calvisano.
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