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Twist in Channel 4’s Super League future as RFL in talks over new TV deal

By now we are all aware that Sky Sports have agreed a new TV deal with Super League as we head into 2024.

After months of speculation, a new deal was reached. This has deal is worth slightly less than its predecessor being of just over £20 million in value. However, it takes the game significantly forward.

Yes, it has reduced club’s income and resulted in some sides being unable to spend the full salary cap, but it means every game can be broadcast by Sky next year in a huge boost for the sport. It also means video referees will be present at every fixture as well.

When this was announced however, fans feared that it meant the end of Channel 4’s involvement in the sport with their deal with the game expiring too.

RL Commercial reassured fans that they could still agree a deal with a free to air broadcaster to share the game to new audiences but talk of this has died down and a statement from Helen Skelton lead many to believe that Channel 4’s brief time in the sport was over.

However, this may not be the case. Serious About Rugby League understands that talks between RL Commercial and at least one free to air broadcaster are ongoing and moving positively.

This comes after the Rugby Football League, RL Commercial and Betfred Super League have announced a three-year extension of the sport’s official data partnership with Stats Perform, the sports tech leader in predictive data and AI.

The agreement will enable every Betfred Super League club to benefit from access to new live, AI-powered, predictive Rugby League feeds, as well as Stats Perform’s pioneering dual-code RugbyHub Live and DataEngine software which deliver unique performance insights to support in-game analysis and fan engagement.

The extended partnership will see Rugby League data captured at a deeper level than ever before. Stats Perform’s most detailed Opta data, comprising more than 5,000 on-ball events and qualifiers per game, will be collected live for every Betfred Super League and Betfred Challenge Cup match. In addition, Opta data will also be collected for all England Men’s and Women’s senior international matches, as well as matches played by the England Knights.

Alongside this performance data, staff across the RFL, RL Commercial and Betfred Super League will be able to utilise Stats Perform’s pioneering predictive rugby data to share previously unattainable insights with fans and coaches alike. Stats Perform’s live predictive AI metrics are in use across both rugby codes and include a Kick Predictor, Live Win Probability, Expected Points and a match Momentum tracker.

The increase in Opta data coverage and new Stats Perform software means that both the RFL and Betfred Super League clubs will continue to benefit from the most comprehensive rugby services available worldwide.

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