BROADCASTING deals are what separate a lucrative sport from one that struggles.
Sky Sports has been the major player in rugby league since the creation of the summer game back in 1996, but Super League is currently in its last year of its broadcasting deal with the media giant.
During the week, Rugby League Commercial managing director Rhodri Jones spoke at the Super League launch and revealed that “other players” are in the conversation to potentially bid for Super League broadcasting rights though Sky, of course, is the leading force.
“From a broadcast perspective, Sky Sports are a long-term partner and still continue to be a fantastic partner for the sport,” Jones said.
“Everybody will be aware they’re in the final year of their contract, so we’re in discussions as you would expect.
“There are other properties in the market at the moment, we are actively talking to Sky but helpfully the market is buoyant.
“There are other players who perhaps weren’t in the market 18 months ago so that prompts good conversations as well.
That’s part of the process and I can’t see it concluding imminently. It will be a process but certainly by the middle of the year we’ll hopefully provide an update on the broadcast market.”
Channel 4 gave some much-needed fresh ideas in 2022 with its ten-game deal, but the terrestrial broadcaster’s contract ties in with Sky Sports’.
“The Channel 4 contract ties in a little bit with the Sky contract at the moment, but soundings from Channel 4 are very positive in terms of continuing their relationship with Super League.
“Again we have to conclude the major domestic rights deal first.
“The BBC contract runs till the end of 2024 so that’s locked in, obviously they’ve been a long term partner of the sport and we hope they continue that as well.
“We also have Viaplay in the Championship as well, that concludes at the end of this year as well so it’s a key year clearly.”