Long-serving producer Neville Smith is to leave his role in charge of Sky Sports’ rugby league production, TotalRL can reveal.
Smith has been at the forefront or Sky’s rugby league coverage for years, and is widely credited with helping secure prominent coverage for the sport over a consistent period of time.
However, it has now emerged that Smith will step down from his position as producer of Sky’s rugby league coverage early next year, with TotalRL of the understanding that the Easter period could potentially be Smith’s farewell before a new producer is sought.
Super League clubs – and competition chief executive Robert Elstone – were made aware of Smith’s departure earlier this week, while Sky’s on-screen staff have also been told that there will be a change in producer for the sport’s coverage on Sky Sports.
The departure of Smith makes for a fascinating future for rugby league on Sky. With a broadcast deal set for renewal in 2021, sources have told TotalRL that Smith’s replacement could be crucial in what the next deal looks like.
There is a possibility rugby league could be grouped in with a series of other sports if no dedicated replacement for Smith is announced, meaning a rolling rotation of producers as opposed to one simply and wholly committed to producing rugby league coverage.
However, that remains to be seen. What is a guarantee however, is that Smith will be stepping down from the role he has become synonymous for with Sky.
More details on this story will be in Monday’s League Express.