The practical consequences of the realignment of European professional rugby have become apparent — and very expensive — for the majority of bedrock fans who watch the games at home.
Last weekend Munster’s game was available on pay-to-view Sky, Leinster’s was on pay-to-view BT sports. Next weekend the situation is reversed so if supporters want to follow a specific team they are obliged to subscribe to an extra television channel. Pay-pay-to-view rugby, as it were.
This is just one of the very unattractive changes brought about by the defeat of the national rugby unions by the billionaires who have bought up Europe’s best clubs as playthings that might, eventually, return a profit. It is a change that may have a far more profound impact than was imagined. Many fans will not succumb to blackmail and subscribe to an extra channel and, as the game’s finances are firmly linked to TV, this must eventually have an entirely negative impact on what was one of the world’s greatest international rugby competitions. And all because of greed.
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