England’s mid-season international against Samoa next month will be streamed on rugby-league.com with fans forced to pay £3.49 if they want to watch the match.
The game Down Under in Campbelltown, screened in the UK on the morning of Saturday 6 May, could have seen large viewing figures on the BBC and opened the door to new fans of the sport.
However, the RFL’s Chief Commercial Officer Roger Draper said that broadcasters interested in showing the match did not offer terms acceptable for Rugby League.
Draper added: “We believe that at just £3.49, the Test Match between England and Samoa offers tremendous value for what promises to be an incredible contest between two top sides. This one-off game also gives us the perfect opportunity to test and learn more about the market for live streaming as we begin to prepare for the future landscape of sports broadcasting and how Rugby League can best take advantage of it.
“We value all our broadcast partnerships tremendously and terrestrial coverage for our national team is very important to us, which is why we have secured deals that will show all of England’s games in both the 2017 and 2021 Rugby League World Cups live on terrestrial TV but habits are changing and we are excited to explore this opportunity.
“For this game, we entered into conversation with a number of organisations interested in buying the broadcast rights however the terms that were offered were not considered acceptable for Rugby League. We value the rights for our national team significantly higher than any of the offers and therefore felt that the right decision for this Test Match was to take it into our own hands and stream the game.”