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Super League to show on free-to-air television for first time in 2022

DJones
(@djones)
Trusted Member

https://www.theguardian.com/sport/2021/nov/24/super-league-to-show-free-to-air-television-for-first-time-in-2022-channel-4

Super League matches will be broadcast live on free-to-air television for the first time in the competition’s history in 2022 after it agreed an initial two-year deal with Channel 4.

Ten matches will be broadcast on the channel next year, starting with Warrington’s trip to Leeds on Saturday 12 February. The remaining nine fixtures will be announced later this week but will include two play-off matches at the end of the season.

Super League has prioritised a free-to-air TV deal as part of its new broadcast arrangement with Sky Sports, which also begins next year. With reduced income from Sky and clubs therefore receiving significantly less funding, the competition was keen to explore a secondary deal with another channel.

The competition achieved record viewing figures in 2021. The anticipation now is that with Channel 4 agreeing to show 10 games a season, those numbers will increase.

“We are delighted to be able to confirm a brand-new broadcast partnership with Channel 4,” Ken Davy, Super League’s chairman, said. “They have a great track record of showing some of the best sporting competitions.

“The opportunity to offer live Super League action to fans on a free-to-air platform across the whole season is fantastic and one that we hope will continue to serve our current fans, as well as attract many new fans to the sport.”

Super League has been synonymous with Sky since the competition launched in 1996, with the broadcaster holding exclusive rights for 25 years. That will now change, however.

“I must thank our principal broadcast partner, Sky Sports, without whose support this partnership would not have been possible,” Davy said. Super League officials are already optimistic that the arrangement with Channel 4 will run beyond its initial two-year term, with the competition keen to command a regular place on free-to-air TV.

“We’re absolutely thrilled to be bringing Super League to free-to-air television for the first time in its history,” Peter Andrews, Channel 4’s head of sport, said. “It’s fantastic news for rugby league fans and it’s a really special addition to Channel 4’s sports portfolio, particularly since it’s one of our first major partnerships since moving to our new national HQ building at the Majestic in Leeds.”

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Topic starter Posted : 24/11/2021 8:35 am
widneslatic
(@widneslatic)
Estimable Member

Hope it's a tad more successful than the last time league games were broadcast on terrestrial TV.

Attendances plummeted when "Rugby League Live!" was broadcast on ITV in the late 80s / early 90s.

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Posted : 24/11/2021 9:08 am
Viking Man
(@viking-man)
Estimable Member

It's great news - the game needs exposure and the fact there is no paywall for these games opens this up to a new audience, at peak times.  

Interesting that this also shows Channel 4's interest in the game, which we were probably all hoping for regarding the TV rights for the Championship.  

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Posted : 24/11/2021 10:10 am
gpo1971
(@gpo1971)
Estimable Member

Good news without a doubt.

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Posted : 24/11/2021 11:25 am
Torn Sock 1
(@torn-sock-1)
Estimable Member
Posted by: @viking-man

It's great news - the game needs exposure and the fact there is no paywall for these games opens this up to a new audience, at peak times.  

Interesting that this also shows Channel 4's interest in the game, which we were probably all hoping for regarding the TV rights for the Championship.  

Nobody knows what the deal is yet? Have Sky have kindly let 10 games go for free/buttons?

There is also the possibility that attendances at these 10 games go down, because people can watch it for free.

Let's hope that they're free flowing games, that get people interested & not wrestle fests that put people to sleep. I would say it's likely to be a good thing overall, but if the viewing figures aren't great where does that leave things? I can't imagine they will be huge but even if it gets another few hundred per team interested & going that otherwise might not have been then it will definitely be deemed a success.

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Posted : 24/11/2021 1:51 pm
CJ91
 CJ91
(@cj91)
Prominent Member

Surely whatever happens the viewing figures on Channel 4 will be better than on SKY purely because it is on 4?

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Posted : 24/11/2021 6:05 pm
Ditton donkey
(@ditton-donkey)
Honorable Member
Posted by: @widneslatic

Hope it's a tad more successful than the last time league games were broadcast on terrestrial TV.

Attendances plummeted when "Rugby League Live!" was broadcast on ITV in the late 80s / early 90s.

Sadly rugby league live was never national - only in north west and Yorkshire plus a few more.

the deal with channel 4 gives national exposure and should be applauded

great move, well done probably SLE or whatever they are called

meanwhile back in the championship, we have exposure on an on demand channel, that also should be applauded

moving forward at last

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Posted : 24/11/2021 8:33 pm
widneslatic
(@widneslatic)
Estimable Member
Posted by: @ditton-donkey
Posted by: @widneslatic

Hope it's a tad more successful than the last time league games were broadcast on terrestrial TV.

Attendances plummeted when "Rugby League Live!" was broadcast on ITV in the late 80s / early 90s.

Sadly rugby league live was never national - only in north west and Yorkshire plus a few more.

the deal with channel 4 gives national exposure and should be applauded

great move, well done probably SLE or whatever they are called

meanwhile back in the championship, we have exposure on an on demand channel, that also should be applauded

moving forward at last

I know Rugby League Live was regional, but it was still on Terrestrial TV.

The deal with Channel 4 is fantastic exposure for the game, but now that places the ball firmly in the Supporters court to get off their backsides and go to televised games.

This is the games last chance of redemption.

Cock this up, and there's no coming back...

 

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Posted : 24/11/2021 8:47 pm
sandgroper
(@sandgroper)
Noble Member

@widneslatic 

Agree, if TV results in dropped crowds it isn't 'good'.

Interesting that an 'amateur' in Ken Davy managed to sort this out so quickly. What were Big Nige, Elstone and Rimmer doing all this time? Collecting big pay packets, but what else?

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Posted : 29/11/2021 10:56 am
Royston Vasey
(@royston-vasey)
Reputable Member

How does showing matches for free on the telly encourage people to go and watch matches ?

people who are interested in the game now have an excuse to stay at home and watch for nothing and people who aren’t interested in the game aren’t going to watch - if they were that interested they’d be watching on Sky or, heaven forbid, actually going to 5he matches themselves.

The game should be encouraging people to get off their behinds and get to the grounds. Just my opinion.

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Posted : 30/11/2021 2:31 am
Ditton donkey
(@ditton-donkey)
Honorable Member

See your point RV  but the game in general needs more exposure to bring in new customers - we could stop all coverage ( which incidentally my dad recommended in a report  to the rfl in 1963 - he received no response)

otherwise you are relying on people returning on the word of mouth, and a lot of our current customers are no spring chickens

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Posted : 30/11/2021 12:40 pm
Royston Vasey
(@royston-vasey)
Reputable Member

I take your point too Ditton - the game does need more exposure / better marketing but for me the best way to try and rebuild the game is to get kids involved and that’s getting them playing the game at an early age and building an attachment to their local club. 

kids like running about and jumping on each other - you get that playing games outdoors not sitting on the settee. Whilst the exposure to the game is a step forward I just think that it might (as usual with the RFL) also include two steps backwards.

 

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Posted : 30/11/2021 6:44 pm
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