18 May, 11:09
IRFU Chief Executive Philip Browne has issued a statement following confirmation of Ronan O'Gara's decision to retire from playing professional rugby.
The new deal ensures that the next six years of Six Nations rugby will be broadcast exclusively live on RTE media outlets. Building on the last agreement which granted RTE live broadcast rights of the tournament between 2006 and 2009, this new four-year term also grants RTE host broadcast rights for all of Ireland's home matches between 2010 and 2013.
Glen Killane, Group Head of RTE Sport, said: "The RBS 6 Nations is one of the world's greatest annual sporting events, one which deserves to be seen by all for free, and one which merits the highest standards in production.
"On behalf of the Irish public, RTE is delighted to be renewing our very strong and positive relationship with Six Nations until 2013.
"This agreement will ensure that the public has more choice than ever before, through our coverage on RTE Television, RTE.ie and RTE Radio 1.
"We look forward to working with the Six Nations to continue to build audiences across all of our platforms. On RTE Television audiences have grown by 85% since 2004, a testament to the strength of the tournament and RTE's commitment to high-quality output."
John Feehan, CEO, Six Nations Rugby Ltd, said: "Our relationship with RTE has been one of long-standing, mutual benefit and very positive co-operation.
"It's one that has seen the RBS 6 Nations extending its reach to growing numbers of new rugby fans across the country. We're greatly looking forward to continuing our relationship with RTE in supporting and growing the RBS 6 Nations tournament for years to come."
RTE's comprehensive coverage of the 2008 Six Nations tournament will include:
- All 15 matches across the five weekends of the tournament broadcast live on RTE Two
- All international matches streamed live on RTE.ie within the island of Ireland
- All of Ireland's matches broadcast live on RTE Radio 1 FM
- An hour-long highlights programme after each of Ireland's games on RTE Two