European Rugby nations discuss pooling TV rights for a more lucrative deal

Plans for a World Rugby League, featuring a more streamlined structure featuring unions from the northern and southern hemispheres, could be about to hit a glitch as the Telegraph have reported that the Six Nations unions have held talks about pooling TV rights for northern hemisphere games.

What the Telegraph refers to – rather conspiratorially – as ‘secret talks’ between the European unions saw the parties discuss selling each nation’s home fixtures across the spring (Six Nations) and autumn internationals in bundles to increase their values.

At the moment, the rights aren’t sold together and that has led to some fragmentation as the BBC, ITV and Sky Sports all show some of the fixtures in either the Six Nations or the autumn internationals in the UK.

Last month, meetings between all tier one and tier two nations were held in Los Angeles to discuss creating a so-called ‘League of Nations’ in order to ensure teams play each other more regularly in an organised fashion designed to appeal to broadcasters. The proposals were met with concerns that the new league would overshadow the Six Nations and the World Cup.

These new European talks are seen as being a possible hurdle to last month’s plan.

Despite the nicknames and the political thriller nature of the language used by national news outlets reporting on the story, these are interesting times for the structure of rugby around the globe. New markets are being explored, new tournaments like the Champions Cup are gaining in traction and digital transformation is taking place. 2019 sees a World Cup come to Japan and 2020 will see another Olympic Games feature Rugby Sevens, which is growing in stature year after year.

These are interesting times, but that only makes the decisions taken now so crucial. You get the feeling that’s why the coverage includes the hot takes and hysteria.

Don’t forget Digital Sport London’s rugby event on February 26th with Six Nations, World Rugby, EPCR and HSBC – get your ticket below!

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Chris McMullan
Chris McMullan 835 posts

Chris is a sports journalist and editor of Digital Sport - follow him on Twitter @CJMcMullan_

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