Six Nations set for major change as ex-F1 owner 'agrees £300m deal' to buy share of rugby championship

Six Nations matches could be shown on paid-for TV channels in the future amid reports a private equity firm has agreed a "significant" share of the championship.

Darcy Graham in action for Scotland against England in the Calcutta Cup match during the 2019 Six Nations tournament

The Times is reporting that an offer from CVC Partners - which could give each of the six unions a huge windfall in exchange for partially surrendering control of the tournament - worth more than £300 million will see the firm acquire 15 per cent of the business as well as leading to some matches disappearing from terrestrial channels, although a commitment will reportedly be made to retain free-to-air broadcasting "in some capacity".

Amazon Prime has been named as one potential broadcaster, after securing a deal to show coverage of the ATP Tour

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CVC, who owned Formula 1 between 2006 and 2017, moved the sport from ITV to Sky Sports but were criticised by team bosses at the time.

Former deputy team principal of Force India Bob Fernley said in 2016: "All [CVC's] actions have been taken to extract as much money from the sport as possible and put as little in as possible."

Talk of CVC's interest in the Six Nations first came to light in March of this year, although the unions - England, France, Italy, Ireland, Scotland and Wales - have been in talks for more than two years about pooling their commercial interests.

The report claims that the European countries have agreed to gather their businesses in one commercial entity, which would also mean CVC owning a share of the autumn internationals and summer tours.

CVC has been slowly growing its involvement in northern hemisphere rugby, having already bought a 27 per cent stake in the Gallagher Premiership said to have secured a £20 million windfall for the top 12 clubs in England, while a similar deal is understood to have been struck for the Guinness PRO14 league for a reported £115 million deal that could net just over £8 million for each of the 14 clubs, including Edinburgh Rugby and Glasgow Warriors.

Talk of a British League was mooted over the summer, with an unnamed club chairman predicting it would happen within the next two years.