IMG deadline set for Super League, Championship and League 1

The time is nigh for IMG’s takeover of rugby league.

Since the agreement was signed back in May 2022, there have been question marks over where the sport could be heading.

A new structure is set to be brought in for 2024 with the overwhelming majority feeling as though licensing is set to return after it was scrapped in the mid-2010s.

Recently, IMG conducted its rugby league survey for fans far and wide in a bid to grasp the beliefs amongst the sport’s fraternity.

Having taken that feedback on board, IMG are going to present their ideas to the Rugby Football League (RFL) first and then to all clubs on the 28th September.

IMG has already assembled a team of experts across its media business and the Endeavor network to work with both the RFL and Super League in its combined entity on strategically repositioning the sport to maximise its commercial potential for long-term growth, build deeper relationships with fans and attract new audiences.

Back in May – when IMG took over the sport – they outlined their plans for the sport:

“The agency will initially focus on competition restructuring, content production and innovation, domestic and international distribution of media rights, digital transformation powered by IMG’s digital sports arm Seven League, brand strategy delivered by Endeavor’s cultural marketing agency 160over90, and streaming through Endeavor’s OTT platform Endeavor Streaming.”

It cannot come at a more important time for the sport with its future seemingly confirmed under the 12-year-deal.

However, it is set to see a number of professional clubs cut adrift from the rest, if Bradford Bulls reporter The Game Caller is to be believed

“What I’m hearing from IMG is get ready, the change is happening and some of the stuff being mentioned is phenomenal,” The Game Caller said on The Full Eighty Minutes podcast.

“You look at what IMG and Endeavour have done with UFC and look at what they’ve done and you hear how they will market and rebrand and there will be wholesale changes.

“We need to change to survive in my opinion, we need to think outside the box – I think licensing will come back at some point and do not be surprised if IMG decide to throw money at a Dublin and an Edinburgh.

“They will make it work as IMG are looking past a Bradford and a Batley and are looking further, but it won’t happen overnight though they have got the money.

“Not every club will make it or get over these obstacles, but I’m certain when you speak to some owners if they are not in those two 12s then there are going to be tough moral decisions to be made.”

It remains to be seen whether there are two divisions of 10 teams or 12 or with a hybrid licensing system, but September 28th is certainly looking interesting.

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