CVC Capital Partners Fund VII has completed a significant investment in, and strategic partnership with, Six Nations Rugby – the official organising body of the Six Nations Championships and Autumn Internationals.
The partnership will develop the Six Nations Championships & Autumn International series for the benefit of players, fans, and the wider rugby community over the long-term.
Under the terms, CVC Fund VII will invest up to £365 million for a 1/7th share in Six Nations Rugby, working alongside the rugby unions of England, France, Ireland, Italy, Scotland & Wales, who will together retain a 6/7th share.
The partnership with Six Nations Rugby comes at an exciting time following the newly centralised ownership and operational activities for the Men’s, Women’s & Under-20s Six Nations Championships, alongside the Autumn International series.
The objective of the partnership is to invest to grow and develop the game; to further enhance the sporting spectacle of all the tournaments, the teams and the brands; and to build the data, technology, and broader commercial capabilities to support these ambitious plans. These steps will ensure continued development of these prestigious tournaments for the benefit of existing fans, and to attract a new more diverse and global fan base, which will support the wider rugby community, including the players, clubs, and unions, to achieve their full potential over the long-term.
CVC will bring to the partnership its significant experience in sports, as well as its global network, working alongside the unions and the Six Nations Rugby management team, to deliver on ambitious growth plans for the Six Nations Championships and Autumn International series. Under the terms of the agreement the six unions will retain sole responsibility for all sporting matters as well as majority control of commercial decisions.
The CVC Fund VII investment into Six Nations Rugby will be paid to the six unions over five years, reflecting the long-term nature of the partnership. This capital investment, combined with the expected growth of the tournaments, will help the unions to support the development of rugby at all levels in their respective territories over the years ahead.
Ben Morel, CEO of Six Nations Rugby commented: “This is a hugely positive development and I want to express my thanks to all parties involved. In particular, our six unions and federations, for the strong sense of unity and collaboration they have shown throughout this process to create a unified Six Nations Rugby and agree the partnership with CVC.
“The Six Nations Championship is steeped in rugby tradition, stretching back to 1883, and together with the women’s, Under-20s and Autumn International series, is synonymous with all the excitement, colour, and passion that rugby has to offer. This external investment is an important validation of what Six Nations Rugby has achieved to date and is a key next step as we invest to grow the game on the world stage.
“When we started this journey, our aim was to ensure we found the right strategic partner, who can add real value and is committed to a long-term relationship. CVC recognises the exciting potential in the Six Nations Championships and Autumn International series, and they are aligned with our vision for the future.
Andrew Umbers, Managing Partner: ‘’We set out a strategy over 4 years ago to help unify a fragmented rugby ecosystem in the Northern Hemisphere between clubs, leagues, unions and players to drive this much-loved sport into a new commercial and unified era.”
“CVC is the perfect partner and catalyst to allow this natural and evolutionary change to be a success and for the great sport of rugby union to grow at all levels and across all genders and age groups.’’
Oakwell Sports Advisory is an advisor on rugby to CVC Capital Partners, and advised the Fund across the whole of the transaction. Our services to CVC ranged from financial and commercial due diligence, rugby based economic, strategic, financial, and business research incorporating the ecosystems of unions, leagues, clubs and players across the globe to understand the changing and future needs of professional rugby.