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Six Nations strikes new free-to-air exclusivity deal with ITV and BBC

By Liam Heagney

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Six Nations Rugby have confirmed that it has 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.

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A Six Nations statement 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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“The women’s Six Nations will be broadcast exclusively on the BBC with unprecedented broadcast investment. In addition, the stars of tomorrow will get to showcase their skills with the consistent coverage of the men’s U20s championship also being shown on 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.”

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ITV director of sport Niall Sloane added: “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.”

Barbara Slater, the director of BBC Sport, said: “For the millions of Six Nations fans across the UK, the championships remaining free-to-air is wonderful news. We look forward to delivering live action from both the men’s and women’s as well as the men’s U20s championships to the widest possible audience over the next four seasons. 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.”

Six Nations added: “No further comment will be made at this point from any of the parties until such time as the contract terms have been concluded.”

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Six Nations strikes new free-to-air exclusivity deal with ITV and BBC

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