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Latest twist in the Six Nations TV deal given a January 7 deadline

By Liam Heagney
(Photo by Mike Hewitt/Getty Images)

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Ofcom is considering a request for Six Nations matches to be broadcast exclusively on terrestrial TV until 2024. BBC and ITV have tabled the proposal to the UK’s communications regulator after targeting the next three championships, starting with Wales’ defence of their title next year.


It is hoped that the home matches of England, Ireland, France and Italy will be televised on Channel 3 (ITV, STV, UTV), while home games of Wales and Scotland will be shown on either BBC One or BBC Two.

“We are provisionally minded to approve the requests, subject to responses to the consultation from interested parties, which must be submitted on January 7,” an Ofcom statement read.

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Six Nations matches involving home countries are designated as Group B Listed Events and Ofcoms’ approval is needed for broadcasters to secure exclusive live television coverage.

It was last May when the Six Nations confirmed that it had entered into exclusive discussions with BBC and ITV after a multi-year agreement in principle was reached relating to the free-to-air broadcasting of all three Six Nations championships (men’s, women’s and U20s) in the UK market.

A Six Nations statement issued at the time regarding its TV plans read: “Fans will continue to enjoy widespread coverage of rugby’s greatest championships throughout the United Kingdom due to an enhanced agreement between Six Nations Rugby and the two broadcasters, who have worked together since 2016. The agreement has a four-year term starting in 2022 and ending after the 2025 championships.


“Subject to contract it is envisaged that all three championships will be shared in the following manner: For the men’s Guinness Six Nations championship, ITV will show all of England, Ireland, Italian and French home matches, while BBC will broadcast all of Scotland and Wales’ home matches.”


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