So this weekend sees the start of the 2016 Six Nations championship.

Since it beginning, the Six Nations has always been shown on BBC TV in the UK.

However, with the recent budget cuts being forced onto the BBC, as a result of their Licence Fee agreement with the UK government, BBC Sport has had to make some cuts.

These include F1, Golf coverage and the Six Nations.

The Six Nations broadcast contract is now shared with ITV. Until 2021, the BBC show all France, Scotland and Wales home matches live, whilst ITV will show all England, Ireland and Italy matches live.

The BBCs F1 contract was due to run until 2018. But the BBC terminated this early. From 2016, Channel Four have the rights to show have of the F1 races live, with extended highlights of the other have of the races. All races will still be shown live on Sky Sports F1. Uniquely Channel Four have said that they will be showing the races without any adverts, one of the issues when ITV had the F1 rights and managed to put adverts on at the worst times (see ITVs coverage of the 2005 San Marino Grand Prix when they started a two-and-a-half minute ad break that finished just before the final lap, incensing viewers.)

The BBC also ended their Open Golf Championship coverage a year early. Although they will show highlights of the Championship, live coverage will now be on Sky Sports.

It also appears that the BBC will no longer show the BDO Darts Championship either, with the 2016 final being the last final as part of their current contract. Expect this to be shown on BT Sport.

However, some good news emerged this week. The BBC will continue to cover the Olympic Games until the 2024 Games. There was concern that Olympic coverage in the UK would change for the 2024 Games, as Discovery won the European rights to the Games, but they have since done a deal with the BBC for sub licencing the games to the BBC.

But whilst many sporting bodies want to maximise revenue from TV deals, at least the All England Club have a different take. They prefer to have the Wimbledon Tennis Championships available on the BBC allowing it to have the maximum exposure and coverage available, rather than taking the money from a PAY TV provider. Wimbledon have the same ethics about advertising on the courts, not over exposing advertising and sponsors on the courts.

So apart from the “crown jewels” list of protected sporting events that must be shown on free UKTV, it does look like more and more sport will only be available on Pay TV. But then, that is thier business model for gaining subscribers…


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