Every year England Rugby (and the other nations) can showcase to the public their journey to the Rugby World Cup thanks to the Six Nations airing on free-to-air TV.
However, it’s likely about to change as the Rugby Paper (via Daily Mail) is reporting Sky Sports are landing a mega £300 million agreement to show the competition from 2021.
This is a massive blow, if the deal goes through, for the sport especially since this round of bidding has blocked the joint bid from the BBC and ITV. Despite the fact since they’ve been teaming-up in 2016, the sport has fantastic viewing figures of up to 10 million showing the appetite of this sport and tournament.
However, it seems with CVC securing the commercial rights they’re going to choose a massive payday over huge viewing figures as an industry insider told the Rugby Paper.
“Cricket did that and the popularity of the sport was hit as a consequence. If rugby chooses not to learn from that mistake, then they will be at risk of the same consequences from the same lack of exposure.”
This hits the nail on the head as it’ll be the figures that’d take the battering as it’ll be likely to dip to under half. Adding that Sky’s rugby coverage is shocking with repeated complaints on social media to Stuart Barnes being continuously crap.
I don’t have an issue if there’s a bidding war and I still think BBC and ITV should still air it, as ITV’s rugby coverage is the best in the country. However, if you want to change things up, I’d be looking towards Amazon Prime.
The streaming service did a fantastic job working alongside production house Sunset+Vine for their Premier League coverage during the winter receiving plenty of praise, and I thought it was new and exciting.
Which I think they could do with rugby and with the fact Sunset+Vine produces sports content for BT Sport and all there Premiership Rugby coverage and have the chance of getting a worldwide audience.
This was proven with the PL, it helped boost subscribers with a growth of 35% (via The Drum) and it could increase more with something like the Six Nations.
As if I was the RFU, I’d do a deal with Amazon being the home of English International rugby adding the Autumn Internationals, Summer tours and their All or Nothing documentary series, mainly if it follows the team’s journey to France 2023.
It shouldn’t just be the men’s game as they can also give a bigger platform for the women’s game and with the popularity of Sevens rugby, Amazon could be the future home of rugby.