ENGLAND captain Owen Farrell has voiced concerns over possible changes to Six Nations TV rights.
The competition is currently shared between the BBC and ITV and allows rugby fans to watch on free-to-air channels.
But the BBC have this week admitted that it will be difficult for them to keep hold of the rights to show the Six Nations should higher bidders come in.
And Saracens star Farrell has voiced his worries about what a paid subscription could mean for fans of the sport going forward.
Speaking at the launch of the 2023/24 Champions Cup, he said: "This is the first I’ve heard about it, but I’ve obviously heard about it in the past when it has come up before.
"I don’t claim to understand what it would do for rugby, what it would do for the tournament or for the nations involved, in terms of the knock-on effect for how many viewers it has.
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"But if it is significant in terms of viewers then yes, that’s going to be a real challenge.”
The Six Nations isn't included on the list of protected events that must be shown on free-to-air TV channels such as the rugby and football World Cups and the Olympics.
Which means that if a new bidder was to come in and offer money out of the reach of the BBC then they would likely be unable to keep hold of their rights to cover the historic tournament.
And with increasing costs and plummeting income, the BBC have admitted that "incredibly difficult" decisions may have to be made.
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The BBC’s head of sport, Barbara Slater addressed what could happen with the Six Nations specifically this week.
She said: "With the Six Nations, like anything, we will have to assess the affordability at the time.
"Because it is very difficult for the BBC, on that trajectory of income, to continue to afford everything that we have.
"The truth is we’re probably not going to be the highest bidder, and it will come down to individual governing bodies as to how they balance that reach and revenue.”
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