When Leeds Rhinos and Warrington Wolves met in the opening round of the 2022 Super League season, it marked a historic occasion. It was the first Super League game shown on free to air television as Channel 4 began a two year partnership with the sport.
That game would embody the drama and quality we would see on our screens over the next two seasons peaking with play-off games between Huddersfield Giants and Salford Red Devils as well as the Red Devils’ trip to St Helens in 2022 or indeed St Helens vs Warrington Wolves this year and the clash between Wigan Warriors and Hull KR.
They also showed the World Club Challenge in 2023 as part of a double header with the round one game between Wigan and Hull KR.
But their deal with the sport has now expired and the post from presenter Helen Skelton suggests it may have come to an end.
She said on Instagram: “What a two years!!!! Thank you Channel 4, IMG Media, Super League and the Rugby Football League for giving us so much freedom and access.
“We have loved bringing Super League live games to terrestrial telly. So much love and respect to Joey Gardiner for steering the ship and crafting something special … our behind the scenes final aired at the weekend but the link is at the bottom of this ramble (and in stories).
“If you’re a sports fan I hope you will enjoy it, and if you’ve been around pro sport you will understand some of the special hugs shared in this reel with people who have become family. Sport ..,, it’s wonderfully, irrationally all consuming.”
However, we are still set for more free to air Super League. Following the record breaking deal with Sky Sports, RL Commercial confirmed: “As part of the agreement, RL Commercial will retain and enhance the ability to attract new viewers, with the continuation of free-to-air broadcast opportunities as well as through a dedicated Super League-owned streaming platform – further details will be confirmed through the autumn.”
But it seems that it may be on a different channel in 2024 and moving forward.