Paywall is Inevitable for Rugby’s Greatest Championship Says Donal Lenihan

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The former Munster & Irish 2nd row was writing in his weekly column with the Irish Examiner   and claims that it’s only a matter of time that the money does the talking when it comes for the rights for the Six Nations Championship. See what he had to say below;

“The most immediate challenge facing the home unions and CVC is in balancing their diverse interests.

“With the lucrative broadcasting rights for the Six Nations set to be renegotiated before the conclusion of this season’s tournament in March, CVC will be chasing a substantial increase in the revenues generated by going down the subscription route

“This means the likes of Sky Sports, BT Sport, and new platforms like Amazon entering a bidding war, sending rugby’s biggest tournament behind a paywall. It’s inevitable.

“In doing so, the unions will have to assess what long-term damage this will inflict, as making the championship subscription-based will inevitably massively reduce viewership figures over the next four years.

“That is exactly what happened when cricket and Formula One went down this route and had a detrimental impact on the playing numbers attracted to cricket as fewer young kids were exposed to watching the sport growing up,”

“The current climate means rugby will be forced into taking the big bucks from the satellite platforms, not least to satisfy the commercial interests of their new partners.

“A compromise of sorts can be accommodated whereby each individual country can retain a minimum number of games on terrestrial television, be it RTÉ or Virgin Media in Ireland’s case.

“Hopefully, by the time the 2022 Six Nations tournament comes around, watching sports live in the flesh will be an option once again, if you’re lucky enough to get your hands on a ticket.

“Without access to the games on terrestrial television, the viewing options are about to shrink even further,”

This will surely be an awful shame, for younger or the casual viewers who don’t have the pay per view, missing out on more potential viewers

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