Channel 4 set for huge negotiations to keep Super League rights

Channel 4 has shown some huge games such as Leeds Rhinos’ win over Catalans Dragons, the meeting between Wigan Warriors and Leigh Leopards recently and a repeat of last year’s semi-final as Salford Red Devils went over to St Helens.

On the first weekend of the season we saw the World Club Challenge as well as a meeting between Wigan and Hull KR.

Channel 4’s coverage has been beloved since they joined the sport in 2022.

But with their deal set to expire in 2023, there has been a question over whether or not they would renew.

Yesterday it was confirmed that Sky Sports are set to agree a new deal for three years.

Meanwhile, it has been confirmed that there will be a window for free to air negotiations to take place meaning Channel 4 are set for a huge negotiations to keep the rights.

The following statement has been made by Super League:

“Following a meeting of RL Commercial, IMG and Super League (Europe) Shareholders, RL Commercial will now enter a 30-day exclusive negotiating period with Sky Sports to formalise and contract the broadcast rights agreement.

“This follows a period of activity in the market that saw multiple bids tabled for the rights, with all stakeholders convinced Sky Sports are offering the best deal for the Super League competition.

“It would see the partnership with Sky Sports extend for a further three years, until the end of the 2026 season – which would include the 30th anniversary of the launch of Super League’s partnership with Sky Sports for the inaugural season in 1996.

“Under the proposed deal, the partnership would include the live broadcast of every Super League fixture, to the UK and worldwide – a transformative development for the competition. This would also allow for video match officials to be appointed for every match. There would also be the continuation of a free-to-air window.

“Further details will be shared on the conclusion of the negotiating period.”

The TV deal has long been spoken about

Speaking in the past about it, RL Commercial’s Rhodri Jones outlined the situation: “We’ve got multiple broadcasters interested.

“We’ll have to see where we land. I think on the Broadcast deal, we’ve been so reliant on one number coming from one broadcaster.

“We’re one of very few sports competitions that don’t stream every game.

“I think the mix of the broadcast platform for us going forward is going to look different. So maybe less emphasis on that one number that we get from the main broadcaster and maybe the culmination of the total means that we come out in a better position.”

It is clear that there were other parties interested other than Sky Sports. Reports emerged in the past from the Daily Mail claiming that officials at the RFL were disappointed with the offer from Sky, a £25 million per year contract and TNT Sport emerged as a potential contender.

Previously known as BT Sport, the newly named TNT Sports are the home of the Champions League in football as well as having rights to Premier League football.

According to the Daily Mail, TNT are now “a big threat” to Sky’s coverage of the sport.

However, the reports now suggest Sky have secured the rights with a £20 million per year deal.