Amazon buys broadcast rights for 13 out of 16 Nations Cup matches

Concerns will be expressed about the long term damage caused to the profile of the game by opting for cash now

Scotland will play France at Murrayfield during the Nations Cup. Image: © Craig Watson - www.craigwatson.co.uk
Scotland will play France at Murrayfield during the Nations Cup. Image: © Craig Watson - www.craigwatson.co.uk

AMAZON have bought the broadcast rights for 13 of the 16 matches to be played in this Autumn’s Nations Cup, with 12 of those games to be shown exclusively in the UK on their Prime Video service. The England versus Ireland at Twickenham match on 21st November will be shown in tandem with Channel 4, while Ireland’s three home matches will be exclusively on Channel 4.

That means Scotland’s three pool matches against Italy, France and Fiji will all be shown on the subscription channel.

“We are excited and privileged to work with Six Nations Rugby and the eight participating unions in to bring this new tournament to viewers across the UK on Prime Video,” said Alex Green, Managing Director of Prime Video Sport Europe.  “It is a unique event bringing a new level of competitiveness to Autumn international rugby and will offer something back to all the fans who have missed top-level rugby.  We will be offering mouth-watering clashes featuring the top international teams in the Northern Hemisphere exclusively to UK Prime members at no additional charge to their membership.”

The Nations Cup is a one-off tournament which has been set-up to kick-start the international game and generate some much needed revenue after nearly six months of rugby inactivity due to the coronavirus pandemic. With no or limited crowds likely to be allowed at the matches, the need for broadcast revenue is greater than ever, and Amazon have some of the deepest pockets around.


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Scottish Rugby Chief Executive Mark Dodson stated last month that his organisation is facing an £18million shortfall in revenue as a  consequence of the pandemic, and his general tone during the pandemic has been more optimistic than some of his counterparts elsewhere in the game.

Concerns will be expressed about the long-term visibility of the sport being compromised by a current hunger to maximise revenue. Amazon have stressed that there will be no extra cost to current Prime members, but it is a subscription service. A current Amazon Prime subscription in the UK costs £79 per year or £7.99 per month.

“We are delighted to welcome Amazon Prime Video on board as a broadcast partner for the Autumn Nations Cup, and to have such a major global player demonstrate their commitment to rugby is a tremendous endorsement for our game,” said Ben Morel, CEO Six Nations Rugby. “Amazon Prime Video has already established a reputation for delivering high level production in live sport which we have seen through their coverage of the Premier League, ATP and WTA Tennis, and NFL. We are hugely excited by their initial plans for the Autumn Nations Cup and are confident rugby lovers will thoroughly enjoy the coverage.”


Scotland to play Italy, France and Fiji in Pool B, as Nations Cup schedule is unveiled

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The Grudge by Tom English
David Barnes
About David Barnes 1942 Articles
David has worked as a freelance rugby journalist since 2004 covering every level of the game in Scotland for publications including The Sunday Times, The Telegraph, The Scotsman/Scotland on Sunday/Evening News, The Herald/Sunday Herald, The Daily Mail/Mail on Sunday and The Sun.

18 Comments

  1. Actually,
    The game is getting boring, so no way to pay.
    Not about the price but as we say in french “question de principe”.
    @People who complain about the BBC license,
    You are lucky enough to have quality programmes and no adverts.
    In France, we pay the license, poor programmes+advertisement.

  2. Boo hoo, we have to pay an hours minimum wage, for a month of almost all the autumn internationals + a huge range of movies/music and whatever else. Far more affordable than SKY or BT, be grateful it was not one of those money horses and accept that the unions need money. This is a win-win.

    And who on earth pays for their BBC ‘license’ essentially a forced extortion subscription.

  3. Well, a nice, broad range of views here. But I think the brands snd the product offerings are just getting too complicated. Clubs vs pro teams vs countries. 6N vs Autumn vs 2020 Autumn+ v Lions…TV channels vs online subscriptions. Some point soon I’m likely to say ‘sod it’ and just go support my local club and forget all this big business stuff.

  4. Disappointing news that this has gone to Amazon. Clearly money talks but I would normally have expected to see autumn internationals on terrestrial or sky tv. Presumably this “new event” was up for grabs.

  5. I have Prime so for me personally that’s a bit more value in it. Would honestly prefer it being on ITV/CH4. I’d say the BBC but I choose not to pay a license fee.

    Wondering whether pubs have rights to show Amazon streams? After a quick search it seems they teamed up with BT Sport for the EPL, not sure if there’s some kind of licensing system for entertainment venues.

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  6. This undignified scramble by rugby unions for money from TV deals will end in tears. How can I justify a Sky subscription, BT, Premier Sports and now Amazon? Always happy to pay BBC licence fee for the huge range of news and other programmes, but not another £8/10 per month for each of the others. I’ll have nothing left to pay for seats at Murrayfield.

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    • Do you really care that much about watching Super Rugby! Bump Sky and save that 20 quid you would need to see the National team..,

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    • When did the BBC ever show as much content and games as Premier and BT do though? totally different platforms.

      BBC offered up a few games live a year, Channel 4 will have that and BBC will likely have a few 6 Nations games, it’s not really changed that much.

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  7. The more youngsters can’t see their international team play on TV the less they will be inclined to play the sport. Just look at the situation with English cricket.

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    • a case of managing the accounts though? i have premier sports, but going to cancel now Edi and Gla are out of the Pro14 and their challenge cup is on BT sport. will sign up for amazon for Oct, so net nil on total outgoings

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  8. As an already subscribed Amazon Prime member, I am delighted that it at least means I don’t need to buy another subscription on top of it for another broadcaster.

    However, there is always a concern that rugby is tying to keenly to catch up to football with respect to the money short term versus longer term fan base growth.

    Hopefully this is the start of more meaningful rugby viewership growth ie those who have a prime account and wouldn’t have know about the nation’s cup otherwise as they don’t watch terrestrial TV channels.

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