Super League agrees new two-year rights agreement with Sky Sports


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Sky Sports have held TV rights to live Super League matches since the competition's inception in 1996
Sky Sports have held TV rights to live Super League matches since the competition’s inception in 1996

Super League has agreed a new television rights deal with existing holder Sky Sports until the end of the 2023 season.

Sky will show 66 live games per season, including the Magic Weekend, play-offs and the showpiece Grand Final.

The new deal gives the broadcaster first pick of games during the regular season as well as the play-offs.

“Our partnership has seen record viewing figures in recently,” said the league’s executive chairman Ken Davy.

“We’ve worked closely throughout the current pandemic and every step of the way Sky have been immensely supportive.

“Together we have managed to give fans an exceptional amount of coverage during these unprecedented times.”

The agreement will see Sky, who have held television rights to the competition since it started in 1996, extend their partnership to 28 years.

Part of the new deal will also see Sky make some of this season’s fixtures available via the broadcaster’s free-to-air platforms.

Analysis

BBC Sport rugby league correspondent Dave Woods

The fact that the new contract has finally been confirmed will be a welcome relief for the Super League clubs. But, as widely predicted, it does involve a drop in TV revenue.

The current contract – which is up at the end of this year – has been worth an estimated £40m per year.

No figures have been made public for the new deal, but it’s believed to be in the region of between £25m – £30m a year in 2022 and 2023.

That clearly means less money for the Super League clubs to share among themselves, but there will also be deep concerns for the wider game.

It’s unlikely that much, if any, of the money will drip down to support clubs in the Championship or League One. There is talk of a separate deal for the lower league clubs with a different broadcaster, but it would be fanciful to suggest that such a deal would yield any significant income.

The Super League clubs had also originally hoped to sell a separate package to a different broadcaster, that would involve 10 live Super League matches broadcast throughout the year with a weekly highlights programme.

As yet there is no news about that package.



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