THE Rugby Football League have confirmed new deals with Sky Sports and BBC Sport which will guarantee increased, enhanced and extended broadcast coverage of both international and domestic rugby league.
The negotiations have generated an increase in revenue to create the opportunity for investment in the Co-operative National Leagues and the community game, whilst creating a platform to continue the sport’s successful growth and future development.
A new three-year deal has been reached with Sky Sports covering 2009, 2010 and 2011, which will see them continue their exclusive live coverage of the engage Super League and the Co-operative National League, including each competition’s play-offs and Grand Final.
Also included is Sky’s live coverage of the international game which will include the England team’s matches on home soil.
A new feature of the agreement will mean that all grassroots rugby league clubs will be able to secure a discount on Sky Sports subscription for their club houses and facilities. This will be available by 2009 at the latest.
The extended partnership continues Sky’s highly successful relationship with the sport which began in 1991.
Meanwhile, the RFL has reached agreement with BBC Sport which means they will continue to broadcast the Carnegie Challenge Cup competition exclusively live throughout 2009, 2010 and 2011, representing a three-year extension of their current agreement.
With the final’s successful return to Wembley Stadium earlier this year, the Carnegie Challenge Cup has again demonstrated its major role in Britain’s sporting summer and this national broadcast coverage will ensure this status is maintained and developed.
In addition, the RFL has agreed that BBC Sport will broadcast live coverage of one England international match per season from 2009 onwards, plus an international featuring a touring side.
The BBC will also continue to broadcast highlights of the engage Super League play-offs and Grand Final, as well as extended highlights of other international matches during 2009, 2010 and 2011.
Commenting on the news, the RFL’s Executive Chairman Richard Lewis said, “These broadcast agreements are tremendous news for Rugby League.
“The negotiations have resulted in a healthy revenue increase, thus giving us a fantastic platform to continue our successful growth and future development.
“The contracts also ensure club stability and create the opportunity to invest in the Co-operative National Leagues and the community game.
“The outcome clearly demonstrates that rugby league is a highly prized and valuable broadcast property which is followed by millions of viewers on a regular basis.
“We are delighted to be renewing what has been a long-term and very successful partnership with Sky Sports.
“They have followed the Super League competition since its inception and our new agreement with them means that their innovative, excellent and exciting coverage of our sport will continue and develop.”