Stan Sports, the online streaming platform owned by Australian commercial broadcaster Nine Network, will cover the top-tier Six Nations European rugby union competition from this year onwards, with a multi-year deal having been announced earlier today.
The agreement between Stan and Six Nations Ltd, the six-team tournament’s organizer, also gives the streaming service rights to the Autumn Nations Series later this year, as well as the Women’s Six Nations and the men’s Under-20 Six Nations.
Every game from these competitions will be covered both live and on-demand by Stan.
BeIN Sports, the Qatar-based international pay-TV broadcaster, covered the 2021 Six Nations in Australia, with that tournament being its last in a four-year deal.
The Autumn Nations Series, which ended in late November, was covered jointly by BeIN and Stan. Rights to both competitions are now sold jointly by the Six Nations organizing body, following a decision by the member board to do so in 2020.
The Six Nations sees the top European nations - England, Wales, Scotland, Ireland, France, and Italy - face off against each other in February and March each year, while the Autumn Nations Series involves the top southern hemisphere nations visiting Europe in October and November to take on the aforementioned northern hemisphere sides.
Ben Kimber, Stan’s director of sport, said: “This is a huge addition to Stan Sport, enhancing our rugby line-up with the crown jewel of the northern hemisphere game. The Six Nations championship delivers an epic competition each and every year.”
The Pitch International agency works with the Six Nations to sell these rights, with a new deal between those two bodies beginning this year.
The Six Nations join what is already a substantial rugby union portfolio built up by Stan. The streaming service also now covers the mid-year series’ in which the northern hemisphere nations visit their southern hemisphere counterparts.
It will also show the Bledisloe Cup encounter between Australia and New Zealand in August.
In terms of club rugby, meanwhile, the streaming platform secured exclusive rights in December to the revamped Japan Rugby League One, the country’s top rugby union competition.
The service will show two games per week from the new version of the Japanese competition, which was formerly known as the Top League.
Stan’s coverage began on 8 January with Suntory taking on Toshiba Brave Lupus Tokyo.
Although it only launched early last year as an additional element of the Stan entertainment platform, Stan Sport breached the 150,000-subscribers mark by May.
This year’s Six Nations will begin on February 6 (Australian time), as Ireland take on Wales and Scotland face England.