Channel 4’s Head of Sport reveals how its Super League coverage could have been improved and what it did well

CHANNEL 4 had an impactful influence on Super League coverage in 2022 and 2023.

After signing a two-year deal with the sport ahead of the 2022 season, the terrestrial giant entered the sport into a new phase – that of Super League coverage on free-to-air television.

And it’s fair to say that it hit the spot that had been missing since the creation of the summer era.

With hosts Helen Skelton and Adam Hills impressing alongside commentators Mark Wilson and Kyle Amor and pundits Danika Priim and Sam Tomkins, the Channel 4 coverage was lauded by all.

But, Channel 4’s Head of Sport, Pete Andrews, has revealed how the Channel 4 coverage of Super League could have been improved.

“Definitely signposting that it was on. We heard from a lot of people that they would have watched it if they knew that it was on,” Andrews told League Express.

“We tried to keep to the same slot on a Saturday afternoon but it was hard having ten games a year.

“We tried to do two games together and then we would disappear for a month or two and we needed to do a better job.

“I don’t think we nailed the message out that we were on TV and that’s certainly something we could have improved on.”

That being said, Andrews explained why Channel 4 couldn’t have been given more than ten games a year.

“I don’t think we could have got more games. There was a balance that needed to be there.

“You have to respect that Sky is the lifeblood of rugby league and it was always going to be ten games we were given.

“We fiddled around when the ten were and Sky were brilliant with us too – they were a generous partner and there was never a chance we could have had more.”

But what does Andrews feel Channel 4 did well?

“It was down to the team and their enthusiasm for the game which came across. The chemistry came through straightaway with Mark (Wilson) and Kyle (Amor) on commentary and Adam (Hills) and Helen (Skelton) as hosts with Danika (Priim) and Sam (Tomkins) as pundits.

“They really enjoyed themselves and the viewer wanted to enjoy themselves too. Whether it was snowy or raining, they were all just having a good time.

“Everyone involved in the crew enjoyed it too. The IMG team that put it together did a great job. Joe Gardiner, who was the creative force behind it all, did an excellent job.

“It just worked. As soon as everyone stood together for the first time, everyone enjoyed it and wanted to come back. That’s always hard to create but it came natural.”

So what legacy does Andrews feel Channel 4 has left for rugby league?

“I believe rugby league is here to stay on terrestrial TV. That’s probably the thing we would look at and say that we were part of.

“The chance for a wider audience and that broader platform for Super League is great and that would be the best thing to take away.”

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