Six Nations set to stay on terrestrial TV under new long-term deal

The Six Nations Championship is expected to remain on terrestrial television as part of a renewed long-term deal with the BBC and ITV, Sport Telegraph can reveal.

A new deal is expected to be made and confirmed next week and could see the women’s championship also included in the package in what will be seen as a huge boost for fans.

Audiences have soared to 8.4 million in this season’s Six Nations, despite the championship having to be played behind closed doors due to the global pandemic.

Maintaining such a presence on free TV will also be seen by many, with gaming being key to rekindling interest in base gaming after the lockdown is eased.

The Rugby Football Union has also recently been pushing for a land commitment for the women’s championship and the inclusion in the new deal would also represent a big step forward for the sport. The RFU, however, declined to comment on Tuesday evening.

The BBC and ITV have been broadcasting the Six Nations jointly since 2016, but their £ 90million a year contract ended after this season’s championship ended in March. The new deal is believed to be an increase in that figure, but not as high as the target of £ 150million per year.

The recent sale of a £ 365million investment to private equity firm CVC had raised concerns that the Championship would need to be sold on pay TV in order to increase rights revenue.

The Digital, Culture, Media and Sports Select committee had a proposal to secure the tournament’s free broadcast status rejected last year, but hopes of preventing the championship from going behind a pay wall were bolstered when the GM BBC’s Tim Davie said it was essential. to retain the rights.

However, it appears that despite discussions with Amazon, Sky Sports and BT Sport, the decision to sell both the Six Nations matches and the Fall Tests as a combined package to attract a “huge bid” is not did not materialize due to the deflation of the sports rights market.

What would have been a flexible bidding process closed at the end of March, after being initially postponed for a year due to the outbreak of the pandemic.

The rights to the fall test matches will now be sold separately, with insiders suggesting Amazon is in pole position, given that they secured the rights to last year’s Fall Nations Cup.

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