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Northern Irish pubs urged to avoid a TV Licence penalty during Six Nations tournament

With rugby’s Six Nations Championship kicking off this weekend (February 1, 2020), TV Licensing is advising all publicans to avoid a penalty and check they are correctly covered by a TV licence if they plan to show live matches.

In the last three years, TV Licensing enquiry officers have visited more than 44,0001 businesses across Northern Ireland and the rest of the UK, including pubs, takeaway restaurants and sports clubs, to confirm if they were correctly licensed.

As rugby fans across the Province pack into pubs over the course of the next five weekends to watch Ireland in action, TV Licensing is warning that its enquiry officers will be touring unlicensed venues throughout the tournament.

Those found to be showing live games without a valid licence could end up in the sin bin as they run the risk of a court prosecution and fine of up to £1,000 per offence, plus costs.

All businesses need to be covered by a valid TV licence if staff, customers or visitors watch or record live programmes on any TV channel or service (including online), or download or watch BBC programmes on iPlayer. This applies to any device provided by the business.

Sinead Doyle, spokesperson for TV Licensing, said: “The Six Nations is one of the biggest highlights of the local sporting calendar, with many Ireland fans choosing to catch the live action at the pub with friends.

“The majority of pubs are correctly licensed to show live sport for their customers and we’ll be dropping in on establishments that we know are not, so our advice to landlords is to check whether they’re covered rather than risk being caught red-handed.”

A TV licence costs £154.50 and can be purchased in minutes via an online form at or by calling the TV Licensing business team on 0300 790 6112.

Fans in the UK can catch all the action on BBC and ITV.

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