Left: Danica Collins in the Duke of Wellington pub. Right: Signs outside the Queens Vaults and the BBC. Photo Credit: Bryana Francis

What could it mean for pubs if the Six Nations goes behind a paywall?

The BBC and ITV deal ends in 2025, putting the viewing habits of thousands in doubt

PUB workers in Cardiff are worried about what the possibility of the Six Nations moving behind a paywall could mean for the hospitality industry.

In 2021, BBC and ITV agreed a deal with the tournament organisers to show the championship from 2022 to 2025 with two-thirds of the matches on ITV, and the rest on the BBC.

Matches deemed to be of national importance, such as the FA Cup final and Wimbledon, are classed as Group A events and must be offered to free-to-air channels. The Six Nations is in Group B , meaning only highlights need to be free to view.

Recent calls by Welsh MPs to move it into Group A were rejected by the UK Government so the TV rights remain up for grabs.

The BBC has said it might not be able to afford the tournament anymore, so there is a real possibility the Six Nations could go behind a paywall.

Fewer people would be able to watch the tournament from the comfort of their homes and could be tempted to watch in pubs.

But not all pubs can afford the commercial subscriptions and could lose trade, while managers of bars that can are worried about how they would cope with extra demand.

The outside of the Owain Glyndwr, Cardiff. Credit: Bryana Francis

Bar staff at the Owain Glyndwr say that the pubs would be a lot busier and they would have to up their prices to pay for more staff.

Although they would probably take more money, staff would have to pour a lot more pints, and deal with a lot more drunk people, some of whom would end up spilling out onto the streets.

Danica Collins, a bartender at the Duke of Wellington pub, is worried about the cost of buying a TV subscription, which they don’t currently have.

The pub would have to weigh up whether it would be worth paying for a subscription and show the games, or miss out on some of their most successful days.

“We make most of our money on these days, they keep us going through the slower months, like January,” she said.

“It’s a silly move because it’s rugby, and it’s loved by everyone,” she said.

Steve Mounter, a pub-goer at The Cambrian Tap, said: “I think it should be on free to air TV, a lot of people don’t have paid subscriptions, and everyone should be able to enjoy it.”

Six Nations TV publicity outside the Queens Vaults

One of the bartenders at the Queens Vaults said Wales v Scotland, currently shown on the BBC, was their busiest match day.

  • Wales’ next game is against England at Twickenham on Saturday.