James Evans MS is calling on the Welsh Government to take steps to ensure the Six Nations Rugby championship remains on free-to-air television after the joint agreement between BBC & ITV expires next year.
The championship is currently on ‘group B’ of the UK government’s listed sporting events, which means the tournament can move to a subscription service in 2025, provided highlights are given to free-to-air channels.
Last year, a report by the cross-party Welsh Affairs Select Committee called for the Six Nations to be included in the Group A list, warning that awareness of the sport could fall if the Six Nations went behind a paywall.
Another major concern is the cost of pay-to-view subscriptions to the hospitality sector to show premium sports. An upcoming report by pub-finder app ‘MatchPint’ and market measurement consultancy CGA strategy estimates the average charge to pubs and bars showing both Sky and BT Sport to be around £20,000 per year.
Speaking in the Senedd, James Evans MS said:
“It is very disappointing that the Six Nations has not been added to the protected free-to-air category for our premier sporting events.
“As a proud rugby player myself, it is very important that we have rugby on the TV to encourage the future generations to don their boots, don the shirt and get our there on a Saturday or Sunday afternoon to play.
“Another thing that’s important is our pubs and clubs across Wales, and if the Six Nations moves to a pay-to-view channel, pubs can pay on average around £20,000 for BT and Sky Sports subscriptions.
“Lots of people frequent pubs to watch these matches, and if people cannot watch them, this is yet another nail in the coffin of the hospitality sector in Wales.”