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Six Nations to remain on the BBC through 2016

The Rambles of Neil Monnery understands that the RFU and the BBC have agreed in principle to a deal that will see all 15 games of the Six Nations tournament remain live on the BBC in the United Kingdom. The deal could be announced any day now and it is expected the deal will be the final nail in the coffin of the BBC’s Formula One rights, which run out after the 2013 season.

The BBC are paying £40million a year under the terms of the present deal but as we understand it the BBC will be paying less this time around – by possibly up to £10million a year to retain the rights. The RFU were keen to maximise their revenue but still keep games on Free To Air TV.

ITV had a lot of interest in taking on the contract but when their plans for games to be on Friday Nights and Saturday Evenings the RFU were less than keen. Both sides were believed to be willing to pay broadly the same so the decision was to keep with the same broadcast partner for the tournament, which will see the competitions stay with the most watched channel in the UK run to 14 years.

With the widespread belief that one of the big four sport TV contracts would have to go from the BBC, this news should it be confirmed will see the likelihood of Formula 1 moving to Channel Four or rise to a significant extent. Both stations are said to be very interested in the year-long circus. ITV are said to be interested more in taking the Premier League highlights, which are also up for grabs but the BBC are expected to keep them and Wimbledon will not be leaving the BBC any time soon.

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