Six Nations Rugby has today announced a long-term strategic partnership with CVC that will see an investment of up to £365 million for a 1/7th share.
IRFU CEO Philip Browne has welcomed the announcement as very positive news for Irish Rugby,
“Today’s announcement, by Six Nations Rugby and CVC, to seek regulatory approval to form a new partnership is very positive news for Irish rugby. If the agreement obtains approval CVC will acquire, over five years, a 1/7th share of the Six Nations tournament.
“Importantly, under the agreement, Unions retain complete control of all sporting matters while all commercial and broadcast decisions, which will benefit from CVC’s commercial and marketing expertise, also requires majority Union approval.
“The Six Nations is the biggest, and most historic, annual showpiece of the professional rugby calendar and the financial driving force across all the unions involved. It is imperative the tournament remains at the forefront in terms of positioning, marketing and financing in the face of competition from other sports franchises.
“The IRFU, together with our fellow Five Unions, is phasing its sale of equity to CVC, with payments materialising over the next five seasons. The total capital proceeds to Irish Rugby, if the deal is approved, will be up to Stg£48m over this period, with approx. Stg £6m net of costs due when the deal closes, later this year. It is also expected that annual long-term revenues from the Six Nations will increase.
“This partnership will serve to increase the ambition, scope and attractiveness of the tournament in the coming seasons for players, fans, commercial partners and the ongoing development of our sport.
Impact of Deal for Irish Rugby
“This deal demonstrates the strength and attraction of the Six Nations Championship, of which Ireland is an integral part, and yet, ironically it serves to highlight the extremely precarious financial situation in which the IRFU currently finds itself because of the Covid pandemic.
Put in context, today’s announcement comes against the backdrop of record losses for the IRFU in 19/20 of some €36m and similar ongoing significant revenue losses expected this year. In real terms the initial funds received from this deal will simply deliver the funding required to keep Irish rugby going for little more than a month.
“The real benefit of this agreement will come into effect in future years. As normality resumes, with fans returning to our stadia in significant numbers and clubs and schools recommencing play, we can look forward to investing funds from this CVC deal into the development of our game, from grassroots up to the elite levels for men and women.
“In welcoming CVC to the Six Nations, it would be remiss of me not to mention the on-going support of our sponsors, our patrons, including our ten- and five-year ticketholders, and the vital support we receive from the government. This has been critical to our survival through these torrid times and I thank them all for their long-term commitment to our great game.”