How united Super League vote could affect broadcast deal

IMG’S plans to ‘re-imagine’ rugby league were given the green light by all 36 professional clubs on Wednesday as the sport entered into a new era.

Whilst the Championship and League One provided a number of clubs voting against the proposals – six altogether as well as several abstentions – the Super League returned a unanimous result, although there was some initial confusion over how Salford Red Devils had voted.

All 11 top-flight clubs (Catalans Dragons did not have a vote) passed IMG’s proposals with a focus on five key areas – fandom, finance, performance, facilities and community.

In doing so, managing director of RL Commercial, Rhodri Jones, has explained how that united front can help when fronting up against broadcasters for a potential deal.

“It’s been really important not from just within the game but externally as well, going into bat against the broadcasters and having a top division with differing views wouldn’t have been the best look,” Jones confessed.

“Broadcasters were aware of the plans, aware of the maximisation of growth, they knew the vote was today and we haven’t had a chance to speak to them yet. They will be positive that it is an 88% success rate.”

Jones also explained how such a six-week process by IMG was a unique experience for the marketing giants, but that it allowed them to see just how determined rugby league clubs are to make things work.

“I think it’s been interesting for IMG, it’s probably the first time they’ve done something like that.

“Those six weeks have shown how passionate the people in the sport are. It allows people to have a view.”