Article

Feehan hails Six Nations´ rise

15 February 2013 00:40

Six Nations Rugby chief executive John Feehan claims the northern hemisphere showpiece is as strong as it has ever been.

The annual tournament was recently boosted by a sponsorship renewal from the The Royal Bank of Scotland, who have re-signed as title sponsors until 2017.

Televised in more than 160 countries, the tournament is growing rapidly according to Feehan.

"I think you've gotta judge it and say 'has it been successful?' Well, it has," Feehan said of the annual competition.

"It's never been as successful as it is today. It's never generated as much money as it does today."

Feehan also praised the efforts of newest participant, Italy, who joined in 2000.

While acknowledging it a difficult market to break into, Feehan sees plenty of scope for growth in the southern European country.

"Well it is, let's be brutally honest. Italy and football are synonymous," he said.

"Having said that, certainly we're getting huge exposure there now that we've never had before.

"The television audiences are growing nicely and generally the level of coverage and the level of interest is far higher.

"I think we've still got plenty of ground to make up on Italy. In so far as yes, they've come in and they're very solid and they have improved and they're really doing well.

"However, in terms of the potential in that country, the numbers playing and for the revenues and the commercials behind it, it's still substantial and we have a lot of work still do there."

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