Derek Beaumont’s comments on Sky Sports

On Friday night Leigh Leopards lost to Wigan Warriors, lost fourth spot and lost their home play off game against Hull KR next week and will now be forced to go away to Hull KR next week instead of hosting the Robins.

This loss came in controversial circumstances as Oliver Gildart had a try disallowed for obstruction which caused quite the stir.

In fact, according to Brian Carney, it led to Derek Beaumont instructing Adrian Lam not to appear on Sky Sports after the game.

This is interesting given Derek Beaumont’s previous comments on Sky Sports and the new TV deal.

He said on completion of the TV deal: “I’d like to thank (Rugby League Commercial Managing Director) Rhodri Jones and everyone involved in the hard work that has taken place over a long period in a difficult landscape for the broadcasting of sport.

“There are real and positive achievements in these negotiations which will prove to be extremely valuable, in particular the availability of every game to be broadcast live and accessed all over the world. This is something that the clubs can work with Rugby League Commercial to maximise the significant exposure for our game and commercial partners.

“For the first time all the games will be officiated evenly by the provision of video referees as a result of the live coverage of every game.

“We look forward to communicating in the coming weeks with our members and fans regarding memberships for the 2024 Betfred Super League season.”

He has however been critical of Sky in the past:

“As much as Sky are massive for the game and without them over the last 30 years where would we be? But anything that’s behind subscription based paywall that can’t be just isolated for the rugby games lessens the amount of people that can see it.

“That’s evident when you look at the viewers we get on a Sky game compared to the viewers you get on a free to air game say on Channel 4 or BBC so now we’ve got that opportunity to get the figure right.

“What’s important now as well for me is that as clubs we work together. I think we need to probably centralise the whole thing and have it as an opportunity where you can buy, say, a pass just for Leopards games, or you could buy a pass for just Leopards away games, or you could buy a pass for every game, for every club and have different ways that you can take part in this, even down to just pay per view for one game.

“There also needs to be a way that whilst that’s centralised and we can distribute it well so that everybody can benefit and up our standards, which is the whole idea of what IMG are doing is increasing standards. We also need to make sure that clubs are incentivised by the number of people they bring to the table as well. So it’s quite a lot of work for the clubs to do together through RL Commercial, but I think working together is key.”