What a relief!
It was with a huge sigh of relief that I read in the news the other day that the joint bid by the BBC and ITV for the rights to the Six-Nations had been successful. Change is inevitable, we all know that, but there are some things that I can’t imagine being without and, odd as I am sure some people may find it, having on the telly the coverage of every match of the Six-Nations is one of them.
Not that I have a problem with Sky or other pay to view setups, but for me personally it would change the whole experience of the tournament. Watching the matches for me has always been a family and friends occasion. For the big matches yes, you do try and sit down and make an event of it but often you find you need to get on with cooking tea while listening to the commentary and rushing back into the room when you hear the roar of the crowd swell to a crescendo because something must have happened.
Now it is a real pleasure to see my little girl enjoying the sport that has been such a big part of her parents lives (not that she has finally decided on who she will support – for a five year old she is surprisingly diplomatic!) and I would love my little traditions to last a little longer at least.
I have wonderful memories that revolve around the tournament from teenage gatherings at my house when I was growing up, watching matches in the student union and realising my husband-to-be might indeed be ‘the one’ when he managed to be grudgingly gracious in the face of a Welsh defeat to the English, and also wedding planning around the fixture list! It won’t just be me feeling relieved either.
The Welsh Culture and Sports Minister was quoted as saying losing the Six Nations to pay-per-view channels would be “dangerous and damaging”. This demonstrates how entwined welsh culture and rugby are with each other.
A couple of figures for you as quoted on BBC Sport: 41% of the UK population watches the Six Nations and this rises to 68% of the population of Wales Now I have at least six more years to not have to worry about paying for the privilege of watching the biggest annual tournament for the national game, having to find a, more likely than not, crowded pub (not my thing but always a friendly atmosphere) or feel a cheeky imposition on friends who are in a position to subscribe to the relevant channel.
Having that issue resolved, successfully in my opinion, it is now time to enjoy the summer, and wait in anticipation and expectation for a great Rugby World Cup on home soil this autumn – come on you …… well any northern hemisphere team really. Let’s show those Aussies, All Blacks and Spring Boks what we are made of!