Rugby fans will be able to enjoy the Six Nations without subscription until at least 2021 after the BBC and ITV joined forces to keep the competition on Free to Air TV.
The UK’s two biggest broadcasters will each offer exclusive coverage of pre-agreed home games, with the BBC taking all Scotland, Wales and France home matches and ITV showing the England, Ireland and Italy matches.
BBC Radio 5 live and 5 live sports extra will continue to have live commentary of all matches.
The deal between the rival broadcasters was struck after Six Nations bosses invited pay-giants Sky and BT to bid, with the BBC keen to retain as much of the contest as possible after losing the rights to several major sports in recent years.
BBC Director of Sport, Barbara Slater, said: “It’s great news for fans of the Six Nations that the championship will be staying on free-to-air television.
“It’s a very special competition and our viewing figures from this year prove just how popular it is with audiences.
“We very much look forward to starting our new partnership with ITV and continuing our strong relationship with RBS 6 Nations.”
Niall Sloane, ITV Director of Sport, says: “As ITV prepares to bring viewers exclusive, free-to-air live coverage of the Rugby World Cup later this year, we’re delighted to be strengthening our ties with the game by bringing audiences the first-class, live action and unique atmosphere of the RBS 6 Nations from next year.”