Map Sports

UK Rugby League TV deal. Too soon..?

The European Super League has secured its tv future by signing a new 6 year deal with Sky Sports taking its partnership into its 3rd decade. The deal runs from 2015 to 2021 and is said to be substantially more than the last deal of 127 million. 

Many people in the game were hoping from a rival tv company to bid for the rights which would see the game broadcast on terrestrial tv after the sucess of the recent World Cup. But Sky, the major contributor to the game since going full time in 1996, has out bid rival companies to have full and exclusive rights to the sport. The deal will see 100 live games broadcast from 2015 which includes coverage of the National league as the sport goes back to 2 divisions. 

"The new system will improve the competitiveness and quality of competition throughout the season and the new media valuation clearly recognises and reflects that unequivocally.

"At a stroke this ensures solvency for all Super League clubs for the foreseeable future and provides confidence to fans and sponsors in equal measure. They have a lot to look forward to as long as clubs take a disciplined and realistic approach to their cost bases" said St Helens chairmen Eammon McManus. 

Looking at deals like this leaves a lot of doors open for conjecture, as the devil is always in the detail. We have only had the increased exposure of the lower levels communicated to us. Is that it? Surely any offer to remove the opportunity to take a game to terrestrial television must carry significant increases in payment to the game? Wasn't the 2 million viewers that tuned in to England games in the 2013 Rugby League World Cup worth further investigation?  Even 50% of that viewership is 5 times the highest average Sky ratings. I am looking forward to the RFL executive giving the Rugby League public full transparent disclosure on the intricacies of the new deal so we can be confident previous mistakes like 'Stobartgate' can be put to rest and we can put a bit of confidence back into the administration after a wondeful RLWC2013.

Hopefully this can kick start a new era in rugby league and many more high profile sponsors will jump on board now Sky Sports have committed there long term future to the sport.