Six Nations Unions Reportedly Working On Revolutionary TV Deal
The Six Nations unions are reportedly "in advanced discussions" about a secret deal to revolutionize the broadcasting rights of test rugby in Europe in a move that would "scupper controversial plans for a World League," according to Gavin Mairs of the London TELEGRAPH. It is understood that the six unions have held talks about a proposal to pool the broadcasting rights of all their home fixtures across the year, including the Six Nations and autumn Test series, to "dramatically increase their value" using an EPL model. If an agreement is reached, it would "effectively end plans by World Rugby for a global league," which were further debated at a meeting in L.A. last month. That model is based on all the leading test nations "pooling their broadcasting and commercial rights." The threat of the plan "is such that" in L.A., "it was agreed that any independent rights negotiations that had the potential to adversely impact the project would be paused" until the unions had received the final proposal and made their decision. This position "was also endorsed" at World Rugby's exec committee. The project reflects the considerable skepticism within the Home Unions about the World League plans. It "is understood not to include the rights" for British & Irish Lions tours, which are "traditionally sold by the host nation in the southern hemisphere," nor affect the current broadcasting deals for the European Champions Cup, given the involvement of the independently-owned English and French clubs. It is also unlikely to threaten the Six Nations' publicly-stated desire to keep the Championship on terrestrial TV (TELEGRAPH, 2/13).