Tuesday, 3 March 2020

Oi!...Six Nations...NO!

Reported plans to place the Six Nations behind a paywall when the current TV deal expires in 2021 are just mind-numbingly idiotic.

The powers-that-be may say that nothing has yet been decided but the fact that they are not ruling it out tells us all that we need to know.

And, by outlawing joint bids (a combined bid by the BBC and ITV won last time), it means that the bid process is now heavily rigged against the free-to-air terrestrial channels and in favour of pay TV.

Not only would such a move be disastrous for the Six Nations as a tournament - TV viewing figures would inevitably plummet (see F1 for proof) as casual rugby watchers simply would't pay for the privilege - it would also fatally wound the already struggling grassroots game as participation numbers fall away. Just look at what has happened to cricket.

Those making the decision must understand this. They can't be that stupid. Which leads me to the inevitable conclusion that, in the dash for pay TV cash, they simply don't care.

1 comment:

Rouge9 said...

Yeah it's very worrying and for the reasons you give I can't help feeling it's going to happen. I already pay Virgin to watch BT for the G Prem now they'll want more money from me to watch my beloved England play.

I used to live near Twickenham in the 80's and 90's and could often get tickets for the internationals and all the local big teams of the day, now I live in the Northeast and have to cross my fingers at my local club, (Darlington Mowden Park), usually without much success. I have paid thousand over the years to feed my rugby addiction but, of course, they want more from me. I get the feeling the current RFU board regard the game I love as a commodity to be squeezed of every penny and I, like you, think this is a big mistake for the future of the game.

My 15 year old daughter has just joined and started training at my club, (and having loads of fun doing it), that interest has come mainly from growing up watching the six nations with me, (and falling in love with Anthony Watson!!). She is the future generation of player/viewer, (and income if you want to be blunt about it). However, without easy initial access to what is often the most exiting form of the game she may not have caught the bug. If it's just left to the existing rugby community to enthuse the younger generation then the game will fail to prosper, Sky, BT and Virgin will lose interest and then the RFU will be lucky to get a tenner from the Beeb and ITV put together!!

I'm getting my club chairman to pen a letter to the RFU because it has the potential to effect the clubs of all levels as well, sadly I had to explain to him why!