The Six Nations championship is set to remain as a free-to-air tv event in Ireland, after tournament organisers confirmed an "agreement in principle" with Virgin Media and RTE.
Following the huge investment by private equity firm CVC, it had been expected that the tv rights for the Six Nations championship would be sold to a subscription-based broadcaster.
However, today's announcement will see Virgin Media and RTE sharing coverage of the championships, including the women's and under-20 tournaments, in a "multi-year agreement"
Welcoming the news, Ben Morel, Chief Executive of Six Nations Rugby said the agreement will benefit the continued growth of the sport in Ireland.
“I am delighted that we have agreed the principles of a unique three-party partnership with Virgin Media and RTÉ, and that they have chosen the Six Nations to build such a strong and compelling collaboration around all our competitions which will be to the benefit of our sport, our unions and of Rugby fans in Ireland," he said.
Joining Morel in welcoming the news, Philip Browne, IRFU CEO, said, “Rugby is a participation sport and one that has always, and will always, strive to ensure a balance between finance and exposure. It is a win-win for all involved to have the future of all three Championships move through the contact stages with partners that have a history of showcasing our game.
"How we, and our broadcast partners, present our game is important, not only for the hear-and-now of the viewers sitting down together to watch a particular game, but for those who may be inspired to take up the ball and play in schools and clubs. We look forward to working with both Virgin Media and RTÉ on the promotion of our great game across men’s and women’s rugby.”
Virgin Media had been broadcasting the men's Six Nations championship since 2018, with the three-year deal concluding at the end of this year's competition, while RTE had continued to show coverage of both the women's and u20 competitions.
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