Six Nations set to remain on free-to-air television

The Guinness Six Nations Championship is set to remain on free-to-air television after tournament organisers reached an agreement in principle with existing broadcasters BBC and ITV.

Six Nations Rugby said it had entered into “exclusive discussions” with the two broadcasters over a four-year agreement starting in 2022 and ending after the 2025 season.

The new deal covers the men’s and women’s Six Nations, plus the Six Nations Under-20 tournament.

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Subject to contract, ITV will show all England, Ireland, France and Italy men’s Six Nations home games, while the BBC will broadcast Wales and Scotland home matches.

The women’s Six Nations will be screened on the BBC with what the Six Nations describe as “unprecedented broadcast investment”. The BBC will also cover the Under-20 Championship.

In a statement, Six Nations Rugby said: “Six Nations Rugby today confirmed that it has entered into exclusive discussions with BBC and ITV after an agreement in principle was reached relating to all three Six Nations Championships.

England celebrate winning the Women’s Six Nations
England celebrate winning the women’s Six Nations (Adam Davy/PA).

“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.

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

Six Nations chief executive Ben Morel added: “This is exciting news for fans and for our championships.

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“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 am 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 are 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.”

Reacting to the announcement, Rugby Football Union chief executive Bill Sweeney said: “After a challenging year for rugby, the continued commitment from ITV and BBC is hugely appreciated as we look to re-engage national audiences and encourage grass-roots community participation.”