The Six Nations is set to remain free-to-air after the competition reached an agreement in principle to renew its broadcasting deal with the BBC and ITV.
The new agreement will run for four years from 2022 until after the championships in 2025.
For the men’s competition, ITV will show all of England, Ireland, Italian and French home matches, while the BBC will broadcast all of Scotland and Wales’ home games.
The women’s Six Nations will be broadcast exclusively on the BBC.
The deal means the iconic tournament, which has been free-to-air since 2003, will remain on terrestrial TV.
Sky and BT both made moves to snap up the rights amid reports the Six Nations had told the public service broadcasters that no joint bid would be allowed.
But this sparked a backlash from MPs, who warned a move to pay-TV would risk shutting out fans and would harm the game.
The controversy led to calls for the Six Nations to be classed as a category A sports event, which would make rights off-limits for pay TV operators, but the government rejected the bid.
Last year private equity firm CVC Capital Partners agreed to invest £365m in the competition in exchange for a 14 per cent stake.
CVC had been hoping to squeeze more revenue from broadcasting rights, which were valued at £90m for the BBC and ITV during the last contract. The terms of the new four-year deal have not yet been finalised.
Barbara Slater, director of BBC Sport,said: “For the millions of Six Nations fans across the UK, the championships remaining free-to-air is wonderful news.”
ITV’s director of sport Niall Sloane said: “ITV is delighted to have reached this agreement, which extends free-to-air coverage of such an important tournament and will ensure it remains centre stage each spring.”