The BBC and ITV are set to retain the rights to rugby union’s Six Nations, ensuring the pre-eminent tournament remains on free-to-air TV in the UK.
CVC Capital, which has invested £300 million for a 15% stake in the tournament, is seeking contract improved from the combined £90 million paid previously by the pubcasters. That said, the Daily Mail reports that the six unions are happy with the current arrangement and level of exposure promised by the upcoming tournament, which kicks off on February 1.
The report goes on to say that CBC intends to leverage its investments in club tournaments the Premiership and the Pro14 to create a bundled rights package from the 2022 season, though the technicalities of creating such a package makes its appearance in the next few months unlikely.
While the BBC and ITV’s deal is reportedly favoured, the Mail also claims that pay TV broadcasters Sky Sports and BT Sport could table bids for the Six Nations.
With the perceived value of the BBC’s licence fee currently under scrutiny from Boris Johnson’s Conservative government, losing the Six Nations would be viewed as a huge mark against the broadcaster which has already lost the Masters in recent months.
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