Super League should be targeting Middle East and ‘multi-billionaires’, says Great Britain legend

Despite rugby league’s struggles for publicity in the UK, the sport possesses some of the most famous iconic and history sporting clubs in the country in the shape of Wigan Warriors, Leeds Rhinos and St Helens.

But these three powerhouses, along with the likes of Warrington Wolves, are the very few financially stable clubs in the British game, with rugby league sides in a constant financial fight each season to keep going.

That uncertainty is probably now at its greatest ever level, with the Sky Sports and Viaplay TV deals coming to an end as negotiations continue about where Super League and the Championship will be broadcast from 2024 and beyond.

Whatever the outcome of that though, it’s unlikely to result in a windfall of money that will make rugby league clubs in the UK ‘rich’, something that other sports do have the luxury of through worldwide exposure on a weekly basis.

Football and golf have seen their wealth taken to new levels in recent years due to the influx of money from the Middle East, with the UAE and Saudi Arabia among the countries to pile billions into these sports and their respective clubs and players.

Despite it seeming extremely unlikely that these figure would be interested in investing some of their wealth into Super League, former Great Britain World Cup winner and Sky Sports commentator Mike Stephenson believes there would be interest if the sport was showcased to them.

Speaking on the weekly Eddie and Stevo podcast, with his former colleague and now friend Eddie Hemmings, Stephenson urged Super League clubs to reach out to those in the Middle East.

“You get results like Leigh beating St Helens, Hull KR beating Wigan and you think to yourself, the game is still fantastic. Let’s hope that we can get the money to ensure that it still will be fantastic.

“I get so upset when I look at people who buy football teams and the millions and millions that goes in and I just wish that one would say ‘well we want to back a rugby league team instead’.

“So you know, any of you multi-billionaires out there come on board the greatest game of all.

“Those that run clubs, just send out letters. Send it to Dubai and all the Arab countries and say, listen, you don’t have to pay billions. Just come in with a couple of million and take over the entire club.”