Television rights for some of rugby union’s Six Nations Championship matches are expected to move to pay-TV for the first time since 2001.
It’s anticipated that from next year the competition will be split between Amazon and terrestrial broadcasters BBC and ITV who currently transmit the annual competition free-to-air.
The Times reported on Thursday that Amazon would broadcast the bulk of matches during the autumn international season with terrestrial television retaining what’s being described as a “meaningful share”.
According to The Times, the expectation is that the BBC, ITV and Amazon would each show one Six Nations match per round, with an equal split of the most attractive matches.
6 Nations Limited is looking to increase its television revenue following a £365 million investment deal with private equity company CVC.
There are concerns that without a terrestrial window, the sport might suffer the same drop in participation experienced by cricket, after the live rights to England’s international matches were sold to Sky in 2004.
Sky, which along with BT is also believed to have entered the bidding, secured the rights for England’s home games at Twickenham between 1997 and 2002.
BBC and ITV will pay a combined £90 million for their share.
The BBC paid £70 million for the competition when it won back the rights to the entire 6 Nations in 2002.