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    The end of free to air Six Nations is nigh.

    according to Rugby Pass.

    It's all part of the purchase of a 15%stake in the Six Nations by CVC Capital Partners for £500 Million.


    #2
    Originally posted by Piquet View Post
    according to Rugby Pass.

    It's all part of the purchase of a 15%stake in the Six Nations by CVC Capital Partners for £500 Million.
    It is very sad when events that were freely available on TV need to be paid for in some way by those who watch. Here in the UK we’ve witnessed an inexorable move of major events behind some form of paywall. License fees
    simply cannot fund the sorts of price these events can fetch- and I think it’s hard to justify that sort of spend rather than on news, current affairs, and other non-mass audience programming that no commercially oriented
    broadcaster etc will fund.

    I’m not sure (while I detest it) that rugby can or
    should resist this- IF the money is used
    to support the game, in countries who have players harvested, clubs, and those who play it/retire though injury etc etc. Unfortunately I have zero confidence that this would happen- it will just enhance the profitability of those with a large financial stake in the game.

    The extent of the CVC money (and related competitors as in the recently mooted world tournament) is astonishing, and we have seen before now how heads were turned by much smaller sums( eg HCUP and our Celtic cousins). A more fundamental problem that arises with this investment is that control of the game and it’s development is lost. At the same time, by paying money to Sky, BT sports, Premier etc I can
    watch more rugby now than I ever could.

    These will always be for a niche audience, 6N should be free to air because they promote the game to the widest possible audience, and can thus drive up the value of the niche, pay tv coverage- which is what we use to grow our game. They should not just be free to air, but free to RTÉ/BBC or whoever, in return for guaranteed top quality coverage, highlights packages of HCUP, etc, to promote the game. Personally that is what I think that is what the unions should be doing, rather than selling out to CVC or whoever.
    Last edited by jagawayagain; 12th-July-2019, 19:01.

    Comment


      #3
      The trade off is between money and exposure. Important balance to be struck.

      Cricket got it very wrong IMHO. England are in a World Cup final this weekend and there’s very little buzz around the place because nobody’s been watching. The final will be free-to-air (purely because Sky agreed to let C4 show it due to England’s involvement) but clashes with the Wimbledon final and British GP so they’re not even sure they’ll get a big audience. It’s fallen a very long way since the peak of 2005. Participation has fallen dramatically with it. And with all their TV cash the best players are still lured away to play in the bigger money IPL.

      The 6Ns is hugely important to rugby’s exposure. With HEC and league on subscription TV, it’s one of the few tournaments that attracts casual/new viewers and it’s a great shop window for the sport at a quiet time of year. Very risky to remove it from the eyes of so many.

      The extra money that will flow into the coffers of France and England will probably eventually flow through to the clubs, who will demand their cut, and be blown on further inflated player wages. The other unions (those that can afford to) will have to follow suit to retain their stars.

      Potential result:
      Lots more money in the pockets of the best players.
      Not much more for the development of the sport in the NH.
      SH unions falling even further behind.
      Fewer eyes on tellies and fewer young lads and lasses taking up the game.
      A sport that needs and wants to really grow its wider audience instead becomes ghettoised.

      Comment


        #4
        Yes- cricket took the money and now we face a World Cup final and fantastic ashes series ahead with minimal terrestrial exposure. BBC didn’t even bid for cricket World Cup highlights, and has even lost overseas radio commentaries. As you rightly say is a money-exposure balance, and only one side is bothered about the development of the game (TV will just show something else if popularity drops off). Unfortunately, most rugby administrations seem not to be overly bothered about developing the game, particularly if it affects their own union/club. Investment companies (CVC etc) can’t be blamed for spotting the commercial possibilities, if they were investing your money you’d want them to do just that. We need rugby’s leadership to focus on the game, not their pockets.

        Comment


          #5
          Originally posted by jagawayagain View Post
          Yes- cricket took the money and now we face a World Cup final and fantastic ashes series ahead with minimal terrestrial exposure. BBC didn’t even bid for cricket World Cup highlights, and has even lost overseas radio commentaries. As you rightly say is a money-exposure balance, and only one side is bothered about the development of the game (TV will just show something else if popularity drops off). Unfortunately, most rugby administrations seem not to be overly bothered about developing the game, particularly if it affects their own union/club. Investment companies (CVC etc) can’t be blamed for spotting the commercial possibilities, if they were investing your money you’d want them to do just that. We need rugby’s leadership to focus on the game, not their pockets.
          I agree. CVC and the rest are seeking to maximise return on their investment and are less bothered about exposure. They need the game to be popular enough for long enough to generate good profits. If it declines in the long term due to a fall off in participation that’s not really their concern. I don’t blame the likes of Sky either.

          As you say, it’s the unions who need to think very clearly through the longer term implications here. The clubs should too, but won’t.

          Mimicking soccer is a very dangerous game. It was already hugely popular globally and could withstand the move to subscription telly. Even then, most of that additional cash just found its way into the pockets of the players and hasn’t helped the game itself at all.

          Comment


            #6
            Originally posted by Munsterboy View Post

            I agree. CVC and the rest are seeking to maximise return on their investment and are less bothered about exposure. They need the game to be popular enough for long enough to generate good profits. If it declines in the long term due to a fall off in participation that’s not really their concern. I don’t blame the likes of Sky either.

            As you say, it’s the unions who need to think very clearly through the longer term implications here. The clubs should too, but won’t.

            Mimicking soccer is a very dangerous game. It was already hugely popular globally and could withstand the move to subscription telly. Even then, most of that additional cash just found its way into the pockets of the players and hasn’t helped the game itself at all.
            Yes- there’s just a world volume in soccer, and cricket there simply isn’t in rugby- think, for example of who the top ten nations are in each sport and the populations in each case, as a rough estimate of the current market, are US, China Russkie likely to become avid rugby watchers? I don’t know how they expect it to pay, unless they can get a large amount of content cheaply and make people pay heavily for premium events. That said, these companies are a lot cleverer than I am and make huge money-so I guess I’m missing something. But I also agree that even if their financial model works, it’s not the game they are bothered about- we need to rugby administrators/community to think about the best interests of the game as a whole, I wish I felt they would.

            Comment


              #7
              Originally posted by jagawayagain View Post

              Yes- there’s just a world volume in soccer, and cricket there simply isn’t in rugby- think, for example of who the top ten nations are in each sport and the populations in each case, as a rough estimate of the current market, are US, China Russkie likely to become avid rugby watchers? I don’t know how they expect it to pay, unless they can get a large amount of content cheaply and make people pay heavily for premium events. That said, these companies are a lot cleverer than I am and make huge money-so I guess I’m missing something. But I also agree that even if their financial model works, it’s not the game they are bothered about- we need to rugby administrators/community to think about the best interests of the game as a whole, I wish I felt they would.
              I live in the US, and I can tell you that there is a large volume of rugby available for not much cost. for 5 bucks a month I get ESPN's streaming service, which shows :the entire pro14 season and playoffs, the Super Rugby season and playoffs, a large amount of Sevens, and Major League Rugby. I also have NBC's Rugby Pass, which for 60 bucks(pretty sure that's what it was, may have been 70, not sure), I got the Gallagher Premiership, the Heineken Cup and the 6N. That's a lot of rugby for 120-130 dollars.

              Comment


                #8
                Originally posted by Finnegan79 View Post

                I live in the US, and I can tell you that there is a large volume of rugby available for not much cost. for 5 bucks a month I get ESPN's streaming service, which shows :the entire pro14 season and playoffs, the Super Rugby season and playoffs, a large amount of Sevens, and Major League Rugby. I also have NBC's Rugby Pass, which for 60 bucks(pretty sure that's what it was, may have been 70, not sure), I got the Gallagher Premiership, the Heineken Cup and the 6N. That's a lot of rugby for 120-130 dollars.
                That’s amazing value, but presumably the US rebroadcast rights are very cheap. I was thinking of potential for new audiences... France, England, Italy, Aus, Japan, Argentina, Ireland, wales, Scotland, Nz, combined are more or less the US population. Unless there is a huge ex pat market, it’s hard to see how you sell rugby to a major market, so you are relying on increasing the market within the top rugby nations or somehow developing a new market in Asia, South America, Eastern Europe or North America.

                Comment


                  #9
                  What is the problem they are trying to solve? They have a great competition, which gets huge interest and exposure beyond their base, packed stadium, great history....

                  Comment


                    #10
                    They believe in the Gordon Gekko creed.


                    Greed is good.

                    Comment


                      #11
                      Originally posted by Piquet View Post
                      They believe in the Gordon Gekko creed.


                      Greed is good.
                      Piquet, absolutely on the money. I think it is greed, partly to do with return on money (clubs have lost serious amounts of investors’ money), but partly a sort of machismo (actually reassurance seeking) to demonstrate that they are in charge of a major game that really does rate with soccer etc. When the Beaumont supported world championship bid failed recently they made clear that they wouldn’t go away. Wonder if the CVC is part of the longer term strategy to wrest away control.

                      Comment


                        #12
                        Is CVC a done deal?

                        Comment


                          #13
                          Originally posted by The Last Stand View Post
                          What is the problem they are trying to solve? They have a great competition, which gets huge interest and exposure beyond their base, packed stadium, great history....
                          Trying to make more money, but could be short term gain but a long term loss due to a drop off in interest and participation.

                          Also, it only makes more money for the big NH unions and will put them even further ahead of the rest.

                          That wouldn’t be so bad if the unions in all six countries spent that extra cash on grass roots development, but we know that a fairly large chunk of it will end up with the French and English clubs, who will spend it luring players from the SH, further diminishing the game there.

                          Comment


                            #14
                            It's a disastrous idea, clearly. But beyond that it's hard to shake the feeling that these guys are lashing the future of the game to a business model that is already past its peak.

                            We're about to see a rapid expansion in streaming platforms pushed by content creators, with companies like Disney pulling some of their most valuable content from platforms like Netflix.

                            That sort of fragmentation will prove unsustainable, so there's bound to be another shake up from there.

                            Whatever way that all plays out, it's not hard to imagine that the current model of TV companies charging monthly subscriptions based on sport and a few flagship TV properties isn't going to last very long, and betting the future of the sport on it seems short sighted.
                            "We will not walk in fear, one of another. We will not be driven into an age of unreason if we dig deep into our history and remember we are not descended from fearful men" Edward R Murrow

                            "Little by little, we have been brought into the present condition in which we are able neither to tolerate the evils from which we suffer, nor the remedies we need to cure them." - Livy


                            "I think that progress has been made by two flames that have always been burning in the human heart. The flame of anger against injustice and the flame of hope that you can build a better world" - Tony Benn

                            Comment


                              #15
                              Originally posted by Balla Boy View Post
                              It's a disastrous idea, clearly. But beyond that it's hard to shake the feeling that these guys are lashing the future of the game to a business model that is already past its peak.

                              We're about to see a rapid expansion in streaming platforms pushed by content creators, with companies like Disney pulling some of their most valuable content from platforms like Netflix.

                              That sort of fragmentation will prove unsustainable, so there's bound to be another shake up from there.

                              Whatever way that all plays out, it's not hard to imagine that the current model of TV companies charging monthly subscriptions based on sport and a few flagship TV properties isn't going to last very long, and betting the future of the sport on it seems short sighted.
                              To some extent this is a smart way to manage the unpredictability of the market. Get a chunk of cash from CVC up front, transferring a large portion of the risk onto them, and then let them, experts in this stuff, figure out how to maximise revenues in a rapidly changing industry.

                              But, whether it’s on subscription channels or streaming platforms, the fundamental problem of it not being free-to-air on mainstream telly will remain. That’s still where you get the most eyeballs by far.

                              Comment

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