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'Would the Six Nations behind a paywall concern me? Absolutely' | Brian O'Driscoll

Brian O'Driscoll joined Off The Ball to preview Ireland vs Scotland and he also gave his thought...



Brian O'Driscoll joined Off The Ball to preview Ireland vs Scotland and he also gave his thoughts on the recently announced deal between the Six Nations and CVC.

The deal sees the Six Nations sell a 14.3 per cent stake to the private equity firm CVC Capital Partners.

The five-year agreement is subject to regulatory approval but is thought to be worth around £365million and proponents of the deal say that it will generate investment in long-term projects to provide lasting benefits for the game.

O'Driscoll was nuanced in his analysis of the announcement, pointing to potential positives as well as potential concerns.

"Having watched what CVC have done with Formula 1 and what they were able to build and how they were able to monetise the product, it was quite remarkable. So, there is something exciting in that," O'Driscoll said. 

"The flip side is that they are there to make a return. They're not involved to enhance the game, they are a financial organisation and they want to see a return on investment and with that the values of the game might not be as important as they are to the respective unions.

"You talk about the potential for the Six Nations to go behind a paywall. Would that make me nervous? Absolutely.

"We’re not football, we’re not another global sport where 50 countries watch us on a weekly basis, we have a stronghold of rugby loving nations. If we start taking Six Nations games away from people who only tune in for the Six Nations, they are not going to go to the pay-per-view broadcasters and that would be a little bit of a concern."

Six nations

O'Driscoll also touched on how the unions have all been impacted by the pandemic.

"Rugby depends on bums on seats like no other sport," he explained. 

"The landscape has changed dramatically. Previously it was about bringing CVC in and growing the game, now those funds are going into survival.

"If you were CVC, there is no better time to be in the game. They are like a seventh partner in the Six Nations.

"CVC must be licking their lips because the game hasn’t changed over the last year, just the circumstances. They will feel that there is still all that scope in the world to grow the game."

READ MORE : IRFU to earn €55 Million from CVC Six Nations Deal

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