IRISH rugby fans in Britain may have to pay to watch coverage of their team competing in the Six Nations, when the current broadcasting deal with the BBC ends in 2017.
Currently, all matches are available free-to-air but Six Nations chief executive John Feehan says both Sky Sports and BT Sport are among those interested in the rights to broadcast the competition.
“There is interest from every broadcaster in the UK for live rights,” said Feehan. “The incumbent are the BBC and we are very happy with that arrangement, but we obviously have to keep everybody honest.”
Coverage of this year’s edition begins with Wales against England on February 6 (8.05pm), with Ireland’s first game the next day away to Italy (2.30pm).
A decision to move to Sky Sports or BT Sport would see rugby join a growing list of pay-per-view sports for Irish fans, who already fork out for coverage of the GAA with the National League broadcast on Premier Sports and the Senior Championships on Sky Sports.