Six Nations Rugby could go behind TV paywall from 2022???
The UK government has rejected the chance to ensure the Six Nations remains only on free-to-air TV by turning down a call to include the tournament as a category A-listed sporting event.
Current category A events, which must have live coverage made available to free-to-air channels, include the rugby union World Cup final, the football World Cup, Wimbledon, the Grand National and the Olympic and Paralympic Games.
However, the Six Nations will remain a category B tournament, meaning live coverage can go behind a paywall provided highlights or a delayed broadcast are shown on terrestrial TV.
BBC and ITV currently share coverage under a deal that runs until 2021 and have made another joint bid for coverage from 2022.
But there has been speculation in recent weeks that the Six Nations competition could go behind a paywall – with Sky Sports front runners to secure the £300million broadcasting rights covering the 2022-24 tournaments.
Kevin Brennan, MP for Cardiff West, submitted a proposal that was also signed by 11 other Welsh MPs. He called for the Six Nations to be put in the Government’s ‘Category A’ of sporting events, thereby ensuring it will be shown live on free-to-air platforms.
But it will remain in the Group B category, opening the door for Sky Sports to try and secure the broadcasting rights of the Six Nations tournaments after the 2021 edition.
Rules prevent the BBC and ITV from making another joint bid after next year’s Six Nations, which could be the last on only free-to-air TV.