TV3 has secured the TV rights in the Republic of Ireland to rugby union's Six Nations Championship from 2018 to 2021.
The free-to-air commercial broadcaster, which aired the recent Rugby World Cup, will succeed its partly publicy funded rival RTE as the Irish home of the flagship tournament for European national teams. As well as live coverage of every game in each competition, the deal includes previews, magazine programmes, highlights shows and full replays of matches.
No financial terms were released. The deal marks the second change in the coverage of the Six Nations within its participant countries, after ITV joined incumbent BBC in a six-year, UK£300 million (US$462 million) agreement in July to keep the tournament on free-to-air TV in the UK.
"We are delighted to be working with TV3 on developing the interest in the championship and to ultimately grow this wonderful competition in Ireland," said Six Nations Rugby chief executive John Feehan. "TV3’s coverage of Rugby World Cup was very successful and we believe that they will inject new and exciting ideas in the broadcasting of the Six Nations Championship."
Niall Cogley, the TV3 group director of broadcasting, added: "In the last two months, TV3 has been able to demonstrate its credentials as Ireland’s national commercial broadcaster with a refreshing and comprehensive presentation of all 48 games of Rugby World Cup 2015.
"We are grateful that the Six Nations unions, the federations and their executive team were sufficiently impressed by our recent work. We very much look forward to presenting 'Rugby’s Greatest Championship' into the foreseeable future and making TV3 the home of rugby in Ireland.”
Ireland will begin their defence of the Six Nations title, which they also won in 2014, with a game at home to Wales on 7th February.