The BBC will live-stream today’s RBS Six Nations Scotland v England rugby match to the International Space Station so rugby-loving astronaut Tim Peake can get his fix of tries, scums and rucks.
Major Peake, who has become somewhat of a national treasure, will be able to watch the game some 400 kilometres above the Earth.
To get into the rugby spirit Peake launched BBC Sports “out of this world” Six Nations coverage by describing this year’s Six Nations as a “fresh start” for European teams after they took a beating in the World Cup by the Southern hemisphere.
“I know that space is a hostile environment, but Murrayfield, for the old Calcutta Cup, that’s a whole different matter," he said.
John Feehan, Six Nations Rugby chief executive, said broadcasting sport into space is a first for the public broadcaster.
“The RBS Six Nations is watched by millions of people across the globe and this latest development is certainly a new and exciting one,” he said.
“We are delighted that the BBC are able to bring all the action from the eagerly awaited Calcutta Cup clash between Scotland and England to keen rugby fan Tim and hope he enjoys all the action from the International Space Station.”
Given Peak is in a space station with a Russian commander, Yuri Malenchenko, and a US astronaut, Tim Kopra, he may find the banter that goes hand-in-hand with the Six Nations to be lacking. However, thanks to the reach of social networking sites, doubtless the space-based major will be expressing further thoughts on the Six Nations on Twitter.
The impact of technology on sport is growing ever stronger, and not only is the Six Nation breaking new ground by being live-streamed into space, but it also has major IT consultancy Accenture as a technology partner.
Accenture’s work with the Six Nations has gone beyond simply supplying an iOS and Android app to creating a big data platform that serves up match performance stats to both rugby fans and the coaches of the six teams.
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