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Six Nations staying free-to-air with new UK TV agreements

The Guinness Six Nations looks set to remain on free-to-air television.  Six Nations organisers ...

The Guinness Six Nations looks set to remain on free-to-air television. 

Six Nations organisers have entered into exclusive discussions with BBC and ITV regarding the broadcast of the men's, women's and U20 championships.

The news follows a fortnight after similar agreements were confirmed with incumbent Irish broadcasters, Virgin Media and RTÉ.

The agreements with BBC and ITV have quelled fears the Six Nations' recent sale of a 14.3 per cent stake in the entity to private equity firm, CVC.

The new agreement has a four-year term starting in 2022 and ending after the 2025 Championships.

Under the agreement, ITV will screen England, Ireland, Italian and French home matches, while BBC will broadcast all of Scotland and Wales’ home matches.

BBC will have exclusive rights to the UK coverage of the Women's Six Nations, promising "unprecedented broadcast investment".

Six Nations Rugby CEO Ben Morel said the new agreement was an "exciting" one, adding, "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’m 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’re 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.”

ITV Director of Sport Niall Sloane added, "ITV is delighted to have reached this agreement, which extends free-to-air coverage of such an important tournament and will ensure it remains centre stage each spring.

"With the addition of France home games to those of England, Ireland and Italy, we look forward to bringing ITV viewers a wealth of superb rugby from the Six Nations in the coming years."

While his BBC counterpart Barbara Slater said, "For the millions of Six Nations fans across the UK, the Championships remaining free-to-air is wonderful news.

"We look forward to delivering live action from both the Men’s and Women’s as well as the Men’s Under-20’s Championships to the widest possible audience over the next four seasons.

"BBC Sport has led the way in increasing the profile of Women’s sports, so we are thrilled to now include the Women’s Six Nations as a permanent fixture on our broadcast calendar.”

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