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Where Super League’s Grade B clubs may lie in IMG rankings for 2025

There are a number of Super League clubs who could be set for relegation, as they were given Grade B ranking by IMG’s indicative grading last year.

The IMG grading is based on five main categories – or ‘pillars’: Fandom, Performance, Finances, Stadium and Community.

Most clubs haven’t released where they sit on each aspect, meaning it’s impossible to be absolutely certain of where everyone is likely to be at the end of the season.

However, we’ve done our best to look at what we can work out from information that has been released.

Here’s where each Grade B club may lie, with their indicative grade included for you.

Castleford Tigers – 12.16

Tex Hoy, who joined Castleford Tigers from Hull FC Super League

Credit: Imago Images

Originally placed outside of the top 12, the indicative grading from last year would have worried some of the club’s supporters.

Cas were perhaps the side with the most notable reponse to the indicative grades, suggesting that they, and the RFL, had both made a mistake – and that they should have been in 11th place, with 12.91 points.

At the time, they also outlined their plans to achieve a Grade A score by the end of the 2025 season, and to have a score of 14.25 by the end of 2024.

Helpfully, the Tigers penned an ‘open letter‘ earlier this year, detailing the club’s plans to improve their score.

Martin Jepson’s investment in the club could earn an extra 0.5 points, as the club’s Managing Director, Mark Grattan confirmed the club didn’t score anything for Investment previous to this.

In addition, the club has suggested it wants to increase the whole Finance  score from 0.75 to 3.8 – a huge increase, if they manage it.

The club won’t improve on Performance if this year is anything to go by, and the catchment aspect of the grading (within Community) is capped at 0.5 out of 1.5 due to the current system of determining it.

Despite this, the Foundation element is, according to the club, on the up, with links to Burberry and other projects ‘in the pipeline’ potentially improving this.

The big improvements are expected to be in the Stadium category, with seating in the Princess Street Stand ensuring the minimum of 2000 seats to get maximum points is met, and a big screen improving the score too – while requirements for sponsors seats, the directors’ box and TV studio space are all expected to have been met by the end of the year.

It looks like the Tigers are in a pretty good place at the moment – they’ve followed up on promises already and look set to improve further, largely thanks to owning their own ground.

On top of this, Toulouse don’t expect to make huge improvements in their score, so at least, Castleford will hope to have leapfrogged them in the Super League spots.

Looking further forward, the planning permission for large-scale stadium redevelopment of Wheldon Road will shake this all up again if the redevelopment does take place. On that, Martin Jepson has spoken about the fact he is of the belief that the club will earn maximum points for their facilities but we’ll find out in October.

Huddersfield Giants – 13.49

Hull KR Huddersfield

Credit: Imago Images

Originally graded in 9th position in the grading, the Giants may be nervously looking over their shoulders now.

When the gradings were revealed, their Managing Director, Richard Thewlis, said: “Our crowds are critically important as that naturally leads into the digital engagement side of things and ultimately finance.

“The simple reality remains that we need to increase our crowds, TV audiences and digital followers.”

However, their average attendance has actually decreased slightly, with their 2023 average being 5,247 and their 2024 average, so far, being 5,151.

They also need to hope they can improve their performance score, which would require a finish above ninth – which is currently hanging in the balance.

Salford Red Devils – 13.8

Marc Sneyd

Credit: Imago Images

The highest-ranked Grade B side, Salford were 8th – comfortably behind Hull FC, the final Grade A club.

They’ll be happy to have their stadium’s future understood now, as Salford Council have bought it, and there’s plenty of room for improvement there – but we haven’t yet seen this.

This deal may well help with getting 0.25 points for ‘primacy of tenure’ if that wasn’t already factored in.

Their high ranking was surely helped by their performances in Super League, and will certianly improve on this as they finished 11th in 2021, which won’t count towards rankings at the end of this year.

Leigh Leopards – 12.45

Leigh Leopards owner Derek Beaumont. Super League

Credit: Imago Images

Derek Beaumont has been characteristically open about his views on IMG – but also gave us a bit of an idea of where they could rank ahead of 2025.

12th in the indicative gradings – and outside the Super League spots with Castleford’s adjustment included – he’s spoken at length about his plans for the side to be Grade A.

He said in December: “Our financial performance score was 1.3 out of 4.5 when we got the 12.45 and the work that I’ve done in and around the finances of the club, which the accountant is formalising at the moment and is sending to the RFL to ensure it’s right, means that when accounts are filed the increase in our score on this is to 4.05.”

“I’ve been deliberating in here and we get to we get to the magic number of 15, which is Grade A and that’s what we will be announced as next year is 15.05 at least as a Grade A. We can improve depending on what we achieve this year but it definitely won’t go worse.

“So Leigh will be the 8th Grade A club and I can say that to our fans with gratuity and our sponsors and partners.”

The 15.05 would indeed make them a Grade A side, and they’d therefore be exempt from relegation from Super League.

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