The Six Nations has confirmed that it has welcomed a long-term strategic partnership with CVC Capital Partners, with the investment group purchasing a 14 per cent share in the competition.
The investment from the private equity firm is thought to be worth around £365 million and follows other deals that CVC have made within the sport, including the Gallagher Premiership and the Guinness Pro14.
The six unions, England, Wales, Scotland, Ireland, France and Italy, will retain an 85.7 per cent share of the tournament - or six sevenths - and CVC holds the remaining one seventh.
It is hoped that the partnership will seen an increased investment into the sport to develop the game; enhance the sporting spectacle of the men's, women's and under-20's tournaments; and build the data, technology and broader commercial capabilities to support such plans.
Moreover, the plans are aimed at continuing the development of the tournaments for existing fans, and to attract a more diverse and global fan base, which will support the wider rugby community, including the players, clubs and unions to achieve their full potential.
As part of the deal, CVC will bring its experience in the sports industry, as well as its global network, to deliver an ambitious growth plan for the Six Nations Championships and Autumn International series.
"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," started Ben Morel, CEO of Six Nations Rugby.
"The Six Nations Championship is steeped in rugby tradition, stretching back to 1883, and together with the women’s, Under-20s and Autumn International series, is synonymous with all the excitement, colour, and passion 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."
Author: Jake Wilkin