The two companies will share the matches evenly over the six years. With countries playing five home matches over two years, two or three in one campaign, it was the only way of dividing the matches evenly but it means ITV could show England 21 times over the period compared to nine times on the BBC. The BBC realised at the outset of the negotiations, following the decision of the Six Nations committee to approach pay-television companies and publicly warn the corporation that it would need to pay substantially more to retain the broadcasting rights, that it would no longer be able to go it alone. An initial hope of the Six Nations was that the BBC and Sky would share the rights, allowing the unions to increase their income without shrinking audience reach.
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