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In a deal that will see the tournament remain on terrestrial free-to-air channels, the BBC and ITV are to share the rights to broadcast rugby union’s Six Nations Championship for the next six years. Sky – which briefly held certain rights in the 1990s – was reported to be a favoured bidder.
Wales, Scotland and France home matches will be on the BBC, while ITV will show England, Ireland and Italy home games.
BBC Radio 5 live will continue live commentary of all matches, which will be available on the BBC Sport website.
BBC director of sport Barbara Slater described the deal as “great news” for fans of the Six Nations, with Niall Sloane, her counterpart at ITV, saying the broadcast was “delighted to be strengthening its ties with the game. “The landscape of sports broadcasting is shifting rapidly. And very little is guaranteed, no matter how established it seems,” he added.
Games shown live on the BBC will be available online and via the BBC Sport app. When matches are on ITV, highlights will be available via the BBC Sport website shortly after full-time.
The BBC has had exclusive rights since the tournament became the Six Nations in 2000 and the previous deal was due to run until 2017.
“It’s a very special competition and our viewing figures from this year prove just how popular it is with audiences,” added Slater. “We very much look forward to starting our new partnership with ITV and continuing our strong relationship with RBS Six Nations.”