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Six Nations could go to pay TV from 2022 in UK

Rugby Union’s Six Nations could move to pay TV from 2022 in the UK.

According to Rugby Paper, the competition’s organisers have not ruled out the possibility of a pay TV broadcaster winning the rights to the competition which has been broadcast on free TV in the country for 20 years.

While the BBC and ITV previously secured a joint deal believed to be in the region of £90 million, the outlet reported that Sky Sports has become the favourites to secure the 2021-24 rights in a £300 million deal.

A spokesperson played down speculation that Sky was the favourite, calling the reports “highly premature and speculative.”

However, the spokesperson did say that it “would not rule anything out at this stage” and that the unions “will collectively review and make a decision based on the nature of the offers received.”

It had previously been reported that private equity firm CVC, which is looking to acquire a 15% stake in the competition, would only do so should pay TV broadcasting rights be on the table.

The unions of England, Scotland and Wales were reportedly insistent that the competition remains on free-to-air TV,  while CVC wants full control of the commercial arm of the Six Nations – which includes the rights to arrange the next broadcasting deal.

CVC also holds the rights to club tournaments the Premiership and the Pro14 and wants to aggregate these with the Six Nations along with the November internationals to create a bundled rights package from the 2022 season.

Tags: BBC, ITV, Sky Sports