San Remo Music Festival remains at RAI

Broadcaster has carried fest every year since 1951

ROME -- Italian state broadcaster RAI on Friday agreed to terms to broadcast the San Remo Music Festival for three years beginning in 2009, guaranteeing that Italy's most popular nonsports television event will remain with the broadcaster that has carried it every year since its creation in 1951.

Terms of the deal were not released, but it is known that broadcast rights for San Remo attracted interest from rival broadcasters. That stands in marked contrast to Italy's other big broadcast contract, for the country's top soccer league, which attracted only limited interest before RAI won the rights last month at a steep discount.

The San Remo festival, which takes place each spring, is Italy's most popular nonsoccer program most years. The five-day event, which gave birth to the Eurovision song contest, was broadcast by RAI's radio networks for the first four years of its history, and by RAI television since 1955.