Six Nations agrees £365million deal with CVC

Scottish Rugby will receive up to £44.5m over five years as its share

Mark Dodson says he is ready to adapt from being an expansionist CEO to battling against a financial crisis. Image: Fotosport/David Gibson
SRU chief executive Mark Dodson has already hailed the CVC/Six Nations deal as "transformational" for the union. Image: Fotosport/David Gibson.

SIX Nations Rugby and CVC have signed a deal that will see the investment firm put up to £365million pounds into the Championship. Scottish Rugby will receive up to £44.5m as its share, with the funds being disbursed over five years.

CVC’s investment will be made through a subsidiary called CVC Fund VII, which will take a one-seventh share in Six Nations Rugby. The six countries – Scotland, France, Italy, England, Wales and Ireland – will retain the other six-sevenths.

England will receive up to £95m, Ireland is expected to get a maximum of £48m, and Wales will get up to £51m approximately.


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“Today’s announcement marks an important step in the evolution of the Six Nations as a tournament and one that Scottish Rugby was proud to play a role in,” a statement from the SRU said. “Bringing in a significant external partner is the result of many years of hard work in developing the tournament and recognition of its value and future. It provides a great opportunity to take the tournament forward and build on its success to date.

“The arrival of CVC is a timely and strong expression of confidence in rugby and one which will directly benefit the wider game in Scotland in years to come.

“The initial amount for Scotland will be around £7.4m (before costs) at completion, out of a total allocation for Scotland of up to £44.5m (before costs) if Six Nations meets various future financial performance conditions.

“The proceeds generated from this partnership are spread over a period of five years. Scotland will also benefit from an increased commercial focus on the competition as a result of the partnership with CVC. Scottish Rugby’s Board and Council will take their time to determine how best to utilise this future income, having both backed the proposal to bring CVC on board.”

CVC already owns a share in the PRO14. Speaking two weeks ago, Scottish Rugby chief executive Mark Dodson praised the financial impact of that investment, and predicted that the Six Nations deal would have a similarly “transformational” effect.

“The deal we did with PRO14, and if the deal with Six Nations comes through, they will be absolutely transformational for the union,” he said. “That’s why we have to be very careful about how the money is spent. It has to be spent on things that will future proof the game.”

This morning, announcing what they called “a strategic long-term partnership”, Six Nations said:

“Six Nations Rugby, the official organising body of the Six Nations Championships and Autumn Internationals, is pleased to announce that it has agreed a long-term strategic partnership with CVC Fund VII, subject to customary regulatory approvals.

“The partnership with Six Nations Rugby comes at an exciting time following the newly centralised ownership and operational activities for both the Men’s, Women’s & Under-20s Six Nations Championships, alongside the Autumn International series.

“The objective of the partnership is to invest to grow and develop the game; to further enhance the sporting spectacle of all the tournaments, the teams and the brands; and to build the data, technology, and broader commercial capabilities to support these ambitious plans. These steps will ensure continued development of these prestigious tournaments for the benefit of existing fans, and to attract a new more diverse and global fan base, which will support the wider rugby community, including the players, clubs, and unions, to achieve their full potential over the long-term.

“CVC will bring to the partnership its significant experience in sports, as well as its global network, working alongside the unions and the Six Nations Rugby management team, to deliver on ambitious growth plans for the Six Nations Championships and Autumn International series. Under the terms of the agreement the six unions will retain sole responsibility for all sporting matters as well as majority control of commercial decisions. The CVC Fund VII investment into Six Nations Rugby will be paid to the six unions over a period of five years, reflecting the long-term nature of the partnership. This capital investment, combined with the expected growth of the tournaments, will help the unions to support the development of rugby at all levels in their respective territories over the years ahead.”

Ben Morel, CEO of Six Nations Rugby commented: ‘This is a hugely positive development and I want to express my thanks to all parties involved. In particular, our six unions and federations, for the strong sense of unity and collaboration they have shown throughout this process to create a unified Six Nations Rugby and agree the partnership with CVC.

‘The Six Nations Championship is steeped in rugby tradition, stretching back to 1883, and together with the Women’s, Under-20’s and Autumn International series, is synonymous with all the excitement, passion and competitiveness that rugby has to offer. This external investment is an important validation of what Six Nations Rugby has achieved to date and is a key next step as we invest to grow the game on the world stage.

‘When we started this journey, our aim was to ensure we found the right strategic partner, who can add real value and is committed to a long-term relationship. CVC recognises the exciting potential in the Six Nations Championships and Autumn International series, and they are aligned with our vision for the future. CVC has a proven track record of partnering to support growth strategies in sport and is uniquely positioned to help promote collaboration across the sport of rugby for the benefit of fans, players, clubs and unions and all other rugby stakeholders’.


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About Stuart Bathgate 1407 Articles
Stuart has been the rugby correspondent for both The Scotsman and The Herald, and was also The Scotsman’s chief sports writer for 14 years from 2000.

23 Comments

  1. So how much goes to France & Italy? With £126m left i presume its along the lines of £88m & £38.5m resp. So the additional finance to the big 2 ensures they stay the big 2 and Italy kept in their place as aunt Sallys.

  2. Oh cool, £45 million for Scottish rugby? Yes please, thank you Mark Dodson.

    Let the pros do their jobs

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  3. Ah brilliant. SRU gets some money but all Scotland’s rivals get more.
    Being absolutely better off than you were but relatively worse off than your rivals isn’t a great way to become more competitive.

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    • Going by 6 nations history over the last 10 years, it seems fair to put Scotland in 5th position, therefore l see no reason not to rank them in 5th spot, financially. From a fellow Scot.

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      • If one is looking to maintain the integrity of the tournament, it would seem more sensible to give the poorer nations the larger amounts.

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    • You don’t say if its good or bad experiences these other sports have had….or do we just guess?

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      • It’s only F1 who went down the CVC route. They did very well financially but F1 fans and teams less impressed.

        The issue for cricket and F1 was going to satellite tv. If you are trying to catch viewers to expand the game, moving off terrestrial tv is a brave move. Though this is about maximising cash and TV is part of that deal.

    • None as far as we know. The text in the annual report was a bit woolly on bonuses but given the holes in revenue all the CVC money does is stem the losses so can’t see how that justifies any bonus award.

    • Well I think he deserves a decent bonus for steering the SRU through these turbulent times and ensuring no redundancies. Can I also say what a great picture that is of Mr Dodson at the top of the article ?

  4. Of the the three other disbursements being quoted in this article, is there an explanation as to why Scottish Rugby is receiving the lowest allocated amount?

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    • No. They have talked previously about the share of the deal being based on the size of each market, so obviously England would get a lot more than the other home nations. But we have yet to see any detail on how the precise sums have been worked out.

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  5. Good news getting this level of investment into the game.

    However it’s what we do with it that matters. Hiring more NQ pro players won’t help develop the game in Scotland.

    Also interesting to look at cash inflows into Scottish Rugby

    £8.4m pro 14 CVC cash at the end of May 2020 in a timely fillip to the year end accounts.

    A further £9.4m CVC Pro14 cash in October 2020

    Increased bank loans and overdrafts. From a supposedly net debt free position – no laughing at the back.

    £15m grant and £5m loan from the Scottish Government.

    Now the CVC 6N cash drops.

    Sort of explains all the signings and creating previously unheard of roles.

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  6. £8m a year over five years, still doesn’t fill the pro rugby deficit that Union stakeholders underwrite (£11.6m last year).

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    • cost of everything and value of nothing. We can get rid of that “deficit” by cutting pro rugby. Great idea, well done. No pro rugby exists without cash from its Union. Fact.

      This will go to capital investment, not current account wages. Also clear. But hey keep the silly petty conspiracy stuff going if it makes you happy

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      • Interesting comment.

        Just like the £8m pro 14 CVC cash that went to bolster the 19/20 accounts? Which capital projects did that support?

  7. Any investment into the game must be welcomed – although the loss of terrestrial tv broadcasting is the price we will have to pay. Does pay per view tv really increase exposure of the game? See F1 etc…..

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    • this is the big issue. From 6N statement yesterday, they (6N) still have the final say on broadcast deals. I think pay TV is inevitable, but it won’t all be on pay TV. Balancing the wider audience with extra income is the challenge.

      The only way 6N is all FTA is for it to be a protected event under broadcast legislation, and the UK Govt has dismissed that idea

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