Six Nations’ Netflix hopes receive huge boost as series one proves a ratings hit

The 2023 Six Nations captains
The Netflix special covering the 2023 Six Nations has performed well since release

The Six Nations’ new ‘Full Contact’ documentary was among the top three programmes viewed on Netflix in the UK last week in a huge boost to the hopes of the series being recommissioned for a second instalment.

The eight-part documentary was released on Wednesday across Europe with Six Nations chiefs hoping that the project with Netflix would attract a swathe of new fans to the sport, ahead of the start of the 2024 Championship this Friday.

As things stand, the series has not been commissioned for a second season but the latest figures – which have not yet been released by Netflix – are a significant fillip to hopes in that regard. The documentary, which shines the spotlight on a number of the Six Nations’ individual stars, was also Netflix’s most-viewed programme in Ireland last week and the fourth-most in France, with a clip of Finn Russell comparing himself to Lionel Messi going viral on social media.

Camera crews from production company Box to Box have been following the teams since the Six Nations’ official launch in Dublin last Monday, travelling to the likes of Spain and Portugal to follow England and Ireland respectively. Telegraph Sport understands, too, that access creases arising from the first series have been ironed out, with teams more open and inclusive regarding the presence of cameras.

“Compared with last year, the teams’ appreciation of the process is night and day compared to where they are now,” a source said. “All unions are in and the ‘access all areas’ is already a step up.”

Although Formula One’s equivalent, Drive to Survive – which was made by the same production company and the same executive producer, James Gay-Rees – has developed into the gold standard for sports documentaries, commanding nearly seven million UK viewers since its inception, it is understood that it took four series to match last week’s ratings of Six Nations: Full Contact.

Crucially, though, Drive to Survive has cornered a market sector that rugby is in dire need of addressing. Eighteen to 29-year-olds make up 31 per cent of the Formula One documentary’s audience, while an EY study did not even place rugby union in the top 10 of sports for engagement among Gen Z adults, classified as aged between 18 and 24. Rugby union did, however, remain among the top five sports for engagement among adults in the UK.

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