ITV and BBC agree four-year deal to show men’s, women’s and U20 championships in the UK
Six Nations staying on free-to-air TV
The Six Nations is set to stay on free-to-air TV in the UK until at least 2025.
It had been thought that the championship would go behind a paywall from next year. However, Six Nations Rugby has reached an agreement in principle for matches from the men’s, women’s and U20 championships to be shown on BBC and ITV from 2022 to 2025.
The contract terms are still to be finalised but if things proceed as expected, ITV and BBC would continue to share the rights to men’s Six Nations, with ITV showing England, France, Ireland and Italy home matches and BBC broadcasting Scotland and Wales home matches.
The one change from the deal that ended this year is French home games moving from BBC to ITV.
The Women’s Six Nations would be broadcast exclusively on the BBC with the U20 championship also covered by the BBC.
Six Nations CEO Ben Morel said: “This is exciting news for fans and for our championships. Both BBC and ITV have been excellent partners in recent years playing an important role in sharing the incredible moments that the Six Nations always produces, and celebrating the special place our championships hold in the hearts of fans.
“I’m particularly excited by the opportunity to grow the women’s game with an invested broadcast partner in the BBC, who is as committed as we are.
“We’re looking forward to working with them both as we continue to raise the bar and bring rugby’s greatest championships to ever-growing numbers across the UK.”
Barbara Slater, Director of BBC Sport, added: “For the millions of Six Nations fans across the UK, the championships remaining free-to-air is wonderful news.
“BBC Sport has led the way in increasing the profile of women’s sports, so we are thrilled to now include the Women’s Six Nations as a permanent fixture on our broadcast calendar.”
ITV Director of Sport Niall Sloan said: “ITV is delighted to have reached this agreement, which extends free-to-air coverage of such an important tournament and will ensure it remains centre stage each spring.
“With the addition of France home games to those of England, Ireland and Italy, we look forward to bringing ITV viewers a wealth of superb rugby from the Six Nations in the coming years.”
Tournament organisers confirmed earlier this month that it was in joint contract discussions with Virgin Media Television and RTÉ over Irish coverage of the three championships, so the Six Nations is set to remain on free-to-air television in Ireland too.
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