Sean O’Brien and Johnny Sexton with the Six Nations trophy earlier this year
TV3 have secured the rights to broadcast the Six Nations competition from 2018.
Independent.ie are reporting that the channel that hosted the recently completed Rugby World Cup will also be showing the upcoming RBS Six Nations from 2018.
RTE have been longstanding broadcasters of the Five, and now Six, Nations so the loss of one of their sporting showpiece events will be a blow to the powers that be at Montrose.
The deal will begin in 2018 and runs for four years.
"We are delighted to be working with TV3 on developing the interest in the Championship and to ultimately grow this wonderful competition in Ireland," John Feehan, CEO of Six Nations Rugby said.
"TV3’s coverage of Rugby World Cup was very successful and we believe that they will inject new and exciting ideas in the broadcasting of the Six Nations Championship.”
Niall Cogley, TV3 Group Director of Broadcasting said: “In the last two months, TV3 has been able to demonstrate its credentials as Ireland’s National Commercial Broadcaster with a refreshing and comprehensive presentation of all 48 games of Rugby World Cup 2015. We are grateful that the Six Nations Unions, the Federations and their Executive team were sufficiently impressed by our recent work. We very much look forward to presenting Rugby’s Greatest Championship into the foreseeable future and making TV3 the home of rugby in Ireland.”
TV3 Group CEO, David McRedmond, said: “In recent years we have had to endure extraordinary challenges in the most intense of commercial environments. I am delighted we can back up our success with Rugby World Cup 2015 coverage by winning these rights. We are committed to providing Irish audiences with the best home production in sport, in drama with the award-winning ‘Red Rock’, in documentaries like ‘The Joy’, in News and in entertainment shows such as ‘The Great Irish Bake-Off’.”
The Rugby World Cup was a huge success for TV3, with large audiences tuning in, especially for the Ireland games.
Almost 1.7million people watched at least some of the crucial Pool game between Ireland and France on the channel.
In a statement, RTE expressed their 'disappointment' at the news.
This is extremely disappointing news for RTÉ. We have a long and proud tradition of showcasing the 6 Nations and putting our heart and soul into our coverage.
We want to assure the Irish public that every possible effort was made by RTÉ to retain these rights. As a public service broadcaster, RTÉ’s ambition has always been, and continues to be, to deliver the best possible viewer experience and to share moments of major national importance.
We put forward the best possible bid within our means, while always mindful of the significant responsibilities attached to spending public funds.
We have a phenomenal year ahead in 2016, with the GAA Championships, the Olympic Games and Euro 2016. We also look forward to delivering the 6 Nations Championship in 2016 and 2017.
Along with the range of Sports we have already secured and are delivering, we will look to other opportunities in Irish and international sports and remain committed to delivering a comprehensive portfolio of Sport to the Irish public.