The third round of the Six Nations is only a week away, with England hoping to continue their exceptional form against Wales. Additionally, the Six Nations is one of the most famous tournaments in world rugby and attracts viewers from around the globe. This popularity brings in large amounts of money to six countries, but does this justify the bigger unions receiving most of the cash?
The prize money available in the Six Nations varies greatly. Either England or Wales could be entitled to £5.5million if one of the Nations wins the Grand Slam. If either of these teams lose a match, the winning pot is reduced by £1million and all nations receive an additional £200,000.
The team finishing last place will receive a mere £800,000, alongside the wooden spoon. All the exact figures can be seen below, courtesy of Wales Online.
Prize Money on offer: Grand Slam: £5.5million; Second: £3.3million; Third: £2.3million; Fourth: £1.8million; Fifth: £1.3million; Sixth: £800,000.
Crazily this money only equates to 15% of the money available to the unions…
England and France get the big bucks
The remaining 75% of the money is divided equally between the six unions. England will pocket £19million and therefore will profit the most. The french also come out on top, earning £18.5million. The rest of the four nations receive far less. They will all earn £15.6million from competing in the tournament.
So why do the English and French Unions receive a more handsome sum? The remaining 10% of the 75% is divided up depending on the size of the union. Both England and France have much larger organisations, so they are given extra money to aid their respective unions.
Does giving the two richest nations additional money make sense?
Why should the rich become richer?
The England and French unions are some of the richest rugby organisations in the world, with England being the wealthiest. They have been able to grow due to huge private endorsements and sponsorship. For example, England used to have a £30million deal with Sky which gave the global media and entertainment company the rights to broadcast the matches. Being intelligent financially has allowed both unions to each have a top tier league which maintains twelve and fourteen individual teams. Should this mean they are entitled to more money?
Both Unions have larger infrastructure to maintain and with that comes greater financial commitment. France has to maintain fourteen professional teams and that is only in their top division. The likes of Wales and Ireland only have four teams each in the top flight of the Pro14. Therefore it is somewhat justified that England and France receive more money for their unions.
The smaller nations should prosper to
The counter argument to this is that it will cause an unfair gap between the Nations. England remain unrivalled financially by any other nation. They have the best facilities at all age grades and have the best equipment to deliver excellence onto the pitch. If all the six unions received this extra endorsement of money it would only allow them to strengthen their infrastructure and create a more fierce competition between the nations. Going forward this would be the best solution as it gives all nations the same chance.
Additionally, If England and France receive more money due to their unions size, why do Wales receive the same as Italy. If the principle was all unions receives an amount due to their size, it would make more sense. Moreover, the fact that Wales, who are currently ranked fourth internationally, receive the same as Italy, a much smaller union who only have two professional teams is wrong.It’s unfair that England and France receive more because they’re bigger, yet the other four unions receive the same even though they all vary in size.
Adjustment is needed
I personally do not have a problem with the bigger unions receiving more money, it makes sense. On the other hand, this rule of thumb is not kept for the other four nations, who all vary in size massively. Additionally, it does create a small gap between the nations. In the future, it would be of benefit to all the Six Nation competitors if they all received the same amount of money as the largest union. Therefore it gives them extra money to invest and grow to create a more fierce competition, which will only spice up world rugby.
Written by Sam Powell