The Six Nations rugby championship kicks off this weekend, with NBC’s collection of channels airing the action from France, Wales and Italy.
The annual winter competition features the national teams of England, Ireland, France, Wales, Scotland and Italy. The five-round competition concludes March 17.
England won the 2017 championship.
NBC’s Sports Gold subscription streaming service will have all of 2018’s 15 matches live. The platform’s Rugby Pass costs $59.99 and includes other rugby action, including Premiership Rugby, which involves England’s top teams, and the 7s World Cup.
NBC Sports notes that its busy current schedule, which includes the Super Bowl and the Winter Olympics, will occupy much of its linear channel space in the near term. Matches happening during the Olympics will only stream live on NBC Sports Gold.
All three of the Feb. 3-4 matches air on NBCSN a few hours after their kickoff. Wales plays Scotland at 9:15 a.m. ET and France plays Ireland at 11:45 a.m. ET on Feb. 3, and Italy encounters England at 10 a.m. ET on Feb. 4. While those stream live on the subscription service, the matches air at 12:30 p.m., 2:30 p.m. and 2 p.m. (Feb. 4) on NBCSN.
Jon Miller, NBC Sports Group president of programming, says the Six Nations action “underscores our commitment to rugby. We believe it’s an emerging and growing sport.”
He said NBC Sports is keen to increase its rugby offerings, such as the Champions Cup, which he called a “very, very attractive property.”
“We’re constantly on the lookout,” he said, “for the right rugby opportunity.”
Michael Malone, senior content producer at B+C/Multichannel News, covers network programming, including entertainment, news and sports on broadcast, cable and streaming; and local broadcast television. He hosts the podcasts Busted Pilot, about what’s new in television, and Series Business, a chat with the creator of a new program, and writes the column “The Watchman.” He joined B+C in 2005. His journalism has also appeared in The New York Times, The Philadelphia Inquirer, Playboy and New York magazine.
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