Rugby’s Six Nations could move to pay-TV from next season after organisers refused to rule out the possibility.
The broadcast rights to the annual competition are due for renewal once this year’s tournament ends on 14th March.
According to The Rugby Paper, Sky Sports is expected to bid £300 million for the live rights, shutting out current holders the BBC and ITV. The next deal will run “until 2024 at the earliest.”
It added that the Six Nations organisers have told the public service broadcasters that no joint bid will be allowed. It is thought to be bundling the Six Nations together with the autumn internationals and the pre-World Cup warm ups, allowing it to secure the largest broadcasting contract in rugby history.
The Six Nations is currently included in group B of the government’s listed sports events, meaning terrestrial broadcasters are guaranteed secondary rights.
The Guardian quotes a Six Nations spokesperson as saying conjecture about the next round of rights is “highly premature and speculative as no proposals have yet been received by any interested party. We would not rule anything out at this stage and the unions will collectively review and make a decision based on the nature of the offers received.”