Sky Sports has been the home of Leeds Rhinos legend Rob Burrow’s mesmeric runs, Wigan Warriors stalwart Sam Tomkins’ creativity and where we have seen James Roby become arguably the definitive player of the summer era.
There was doubt though over whether Super League’s history was going to continue to play out on Sky Sports or if TNT Sports or DAZN would purchase the rights with the TV deals expiring this year.
In the end though an agreement is set to be made with Sky Sports that will see every game televised at different times compared to the bunched up nature of fixtures currently.
We will also see video referees at every game.
The following statement was made: “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.”
Following this, Salford Red Devils boss Paul Rowley had his say on it: “Well, I think that’s for the power brokers, isn’t it? I think I guess with a club without a benefactor, it probably affects us more than others because we’ve not got someone who’s just going to tip that extra bit in.
“So I’m not sure on the numbers. I haven’t read the news on it. I’m aware that every game’s got video ref, which, that interests me. And every game’s televised in some way, shape or form. So that’s good because I’m a rugby fan and I can get to watch more rugby.
“The money side of it’s not for me, like I said before. If I start worrying about the money, who’s winning who, you’ll have my head upside down so I’ll just concentrate on my job I think.”
When asked if every game would hurt attendances, he said that attendances are already hurt by scheduling: “Well, it does already doesn’t it really? It depends what night you’re playing. So say we’re going to play Hull away on a Friday night and everybody’s working in Salford, then they’ll probably watch it on the TV, won’t they?
“But I don’t think it will affect attendances too much. I think if they were going, they’re going. If they’re not, it gives them an option not to go but not miss the game. So time will tell on that one.
“The most money generated into our game is through Sky TV or television broadcast deals. So that’s what we need to make sure we facilitate because that’s the money, simple.”