If Wales was right in 2009, will terrestrial television ‘decimate’ Six Nations?

The desperation to keep the games out of pay TV is delaying a CVC deal of £ 300 million and there is a danger that the rugby union will be left behind

When a advisory panel reviewed the 2009 list of sporting events that were to be broadcast on terrestrial television, the Welsh Assembly presented a proposal that consisted of group A lists, matches or tournaments that could not be sold for live television. , must include the home games of Wales in the Six

He argued that since the television audience of those games represented 65% of the population, the national interest demanded that they remain free for all. The panel agreed and modified the Group A list accordingly in its report to the Secretary of State for culture, media and sport, but before a decision was made, there was a change of government and nothing happened.

The impasse of transmission rights jeopardizes the agreement of six nations of £ 300 million CVC
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The Welsh Rugby Union had argued that the parties should remain on the Group B list. Events can be screened live on a subscription channel provided secondary rights are granted to a terrestrial station, as is the case with the cricket series England local. He was in no hurry for the Six Nations to make a deal with Sky, but he argued that if the tournament were restricted to the BBC or ITV, the value of the contract would depreciate. Heaven was a valuable bargaining tool.

It is also for the Six Nations that Wales’ home games are not protected as negotiations continue with CVC, the private equity company that seeks a 15% stake in the tournament for £ 300 million and in exchange for control of its arm commercial. That would give CVC a license to negotiate the transmission agreement that begins in 2022. The BBC and the ITV currently pay £ 90 million a year for the rights and, given the problems faced by both broadcasters, they are unlikely to be able to pay more than An incremental increase.

That would hardly suit CVC who, in its successful launches for a 27% stake in both the Premier League and Pro14, argued that the rugby union had been undervalued, particularly with regard to broadcasting rights.

The value it gives to international rugby can be measured by the fact that it invested £ 320 million in the two leagues for a 54% cash and offered £ 20 million less for 15% of the Six Nations, although the package would include the International fall rights in all unions.

The investment would make sense only if there was a pay-TV element in the next broadcast contract, even if the unions in the southern hemisphere accepted that the July and November tour parties received a competitive change in the League of Nations lines Proposed by World Rugby that was knocked down last year, although without descent.

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The danger to CVC now is that an agreement that eliminates live matches for free would generate public outrage and probably a request to the government for the tournament to be promoted to list A, which depresses its transmission value.

The Six Nations are so determined to maintain a terrestrial element that they resist giving commercial control of CVC, wanting to have the last word. While it is in your interest to secure a lucrative agreement since they would deliver more than 15% of their winnings each year in exchange for the lump sum, they are also aware of the impact on the profile of the game if the Six Nations, along with the November internationals , be removed from the free channels.

When that 2009 panel met, he was presented with figures that showed a marked difference between the public generated by Sky, then the main subscription service in the sport, compared to the BBC and the ITV. The first stage of a Champions League semifinal that year between Manchester United and Arsenal had a figure of 1.77m in Sky compared to 7.48m in ITV for the return. There was a similar 4-1 division for the 2005 and 2009 Ashes series on Channel 4 and Sky respectively.

Sky defended himself by saying that fans who watched in pubs and bars were not included in the figures, although the panel concluded that the number was insignificant, since most viewers preferred to watch big games at home. But there was no return for the figures that show the number of young spectators: only 31,000 children between four and 15 years saw the ashes of 2009, in the sky, compared to two million when England played against Sweden in the Cup finals World Cup 2006, on the BBC and ITV.


The Rugby Union of Wales presented in 2009 that a list of Group A “would decimate sport” in Wales and threaten its investment in the game. Meanwhile, the Six Nations provided written evidence that concluded: “The Championship may be competed by the national representative teams of the six participating rugby unions, but it is NOT a public asset, owned by” the nation. “

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