British & Irish Lions tour

Four major broadcasters turn down Lions tour documentary rights

The British & Irish Lions have not been able to reach a deal with four major broadcasters for the rights to air a fly-on-the-wall documentary of this summer’s tour of South Africa.

A deal could yet be struck, but the lack of movement will come as a major disappointment for the Lions as they seek to recoup some of lost income of having home fans travel to South Africa.

Sky Sports will broadcast all nine matches of the series, the seventh tour to be shown live by the broadcaster, but have declined talks to secure documentary rights.

Big hitters BT Sport, Amazon and Netflix have also struggled to reach any progress, according to the Daily Mail.

With the Springboks also facing up to the economic boom that travelling fans would have brought to South Africa, the two parties had already agreed to allow film crews behind-the-scenes access in the Bok camp as well as the Lions as part of a joint-agreement to split commercial and broadcasting income.

Costs of the tour to the Lions amount to around £18m and the sale of rights for the ‘Living with the Lions’ documentary has been seen as one way to ease the loss of fans being told they would not be able to travel to South Africa.

Last month, the Lions contacted supporters who have purchased travel packages to offer four options available to them two months out from the tour’s first match in Edinburgh against Japan.

The Lions had viewed Amazon as one interested party after airing the All or Nothing documentary series with Premier League clubs Tottenham Hotspur and Manchester City on top of broadcasting the Autumn Nations Cup last year.

Netflix has also showed signs of increasing its sports documentary library with Drive To Survive, Sunderland Till I Die and The Last Dance.

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