Six Nations to Remain on Council Telly in BBC/ITV Deal

In news that is sure to warm the soul of many a penny-pinching Scotsman, the Six Nations Council have today announced that they have accepted a joint bid from BBC and ITV to broadcast the RBS 6 Nations Championship for a duration of six years from 2016.

BBC are the current rights holders and have been pretty much since time-began, but there had been heavy pressure from the pay-tv sector, mainly Sky Sports, to try and muscle in on the coverage. The joint bid for ITV was the only way they could manage the financial clout to keep the tournament free-to-air.

Under the new joint system the BBC will transmit live coverage of all home matches of Scotland, Wales and France while ITV will transmit live coverage of all home matches of England, Ireland and Italy. The broadcaster that does not broadcast the last match of a Six Nations weekend will transmit a Sunday highlights show rounding up all the action from the weekend. Which almost means a return to the days of Rugby Special (cue theme tune in your head).

Bill Beaumont, Six Nations Council Chairman said:  “Both the BBC and ITV are committed partners of rugby, ITV with their coverage of the Rugby World Cup and the BBC with their long history of covering the RBS 6 Nations. We are excited to be working with them both to continue to develop the interest in the Championship and to ultimately grow this wonderful game for future generations to enjoy, either as a spectator, player or volunteer.

John Feehan, Chief Executive of the Six Nations said: “The RBS 6 Nations is unique, providing a rich and respected rivalry, with many or the world’s best players at the very pinnacle of their careers, playing for their countries with pride and in the right spirit. This agreement with two major broadcasters will ensure that all these aspects are reflected in the coverage for the fans to enjoy.”

Here at the Scottish Rugby Blog we welcome this decision to keep the Six Nations free to air. What do you think, are you sad you won’t hear Stuart Barnes et al commentating on the Calcutta Cup?

7 comments on “Six Nations to Remain on Council Telly in BBC/ITV Deal

  1. Allan on

    Currently, the 40 mil per annum is split into 30 mil evenly distributed six ways and the remaining ten mil as prize money based on final placement. Scotland, by virtue of having been guff therefore get a little over five mil. Of this extra ten mil per annum, using the same ratios I suppose that means the SRU can expect to pouch an extra million or so each year. Not much when you consider how much Premiership rugby got from BT sport last year!

    Hopefully the Six nations committee can squeeze a bit more out of selling the rights overseas and the European Cup lot can get its act together and get some decent sponsorship money in too or the poorer rugby nations (us and Italy) might regret not taking the Sky dollar!

  2. Scott on

    I think you have to look at the bigger picture and see that having the tournament free to the public will mean a greater interest from the general population. Therefore higher playing numbers, increased shirt sales, greater sponsorship opportunities etc. Big tv deal money would be a fast buck in short term but long term could spell financial ruin. I’m a school teacher and coach rugby, for the vast majority of the kids the 6 nations is about their only experience of watching any rugby. Without it being on council tv the game goes back to being a sport for the privileged. It wouldn’t affect the well to do private school mob but would be a kick in the teeth to ordinary children who’s parents can’t afford £60+ per month subscription. The exact same kids the SRU are trying to entice into the game.

  3. Neil on

    Nothing really to celebrate. It is our given right to watch the 6 nations on ‘normal’ TV channels. It should NEVER go to SKY sports or other weird and wonderful channels that cost us poor fans a fortune to watch. Imagine how cheesed off you would feel if you had spent money to watch us play Ireland or Italy in the 6 nations last year. I for one would have probably committed suicide.

    • Scafell on

      Some of us did. I bought tickets and actually went to the games. Was it enjoyable? No, not really, but its called supporting your team through thick and thin, that’s what true supporters do. As for committing suicide, do grow up. Ultimately its only a game.

      • Scott on

        Agreed Scafell, I went to the NZ, Tonga, Wales and Ireland games last year. The first 3 were good if a little disheartening to lose a couple of tight ones but Ireland was a complete anomaly, ultimately anyone who had watched the team closely will realise it was not a true reflection of their progress. As it stands I probably had the best night at the Ireland game as I got a night out with friends after it and my Irish pal who we went with was happy. A trip to the Rugby is about much more than just the game! I did get a little payback when we all met up to watch the pro12 final ;)

  4. FF on

    John Hardie added to the Scotland RWC training squad. I imagine this will cause Neil to self-combust. Poor Roddy Grant.

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