Championship seals broadcast deal with Premier Sports for live Monday night games

BETFRED Championship clubs will play Monday night games as part of a new broadcast deal the RFL has agreed with Premier Sports.

Wednesday, 6th October 2021, 12:21 pm
Updated Wednesday, 6th October 2021, 12:22 pm

The second-tier competition, traditionally largely ignored by Sky Sports, has long desired greater exposure and some of the games this season have certainly warranted it as illustrated when a number of exciting play-off games were televised.

Premier Sports will harness that in 2022 as they start an extensive two-year broadcast partnership with the RFL.

Matches will be shown in a regular Monday night slot which will include an extended 45-minute build-up to allow reflection and analysis on the previous weekend of rugby league action.

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The deal will provide live and exclusive coverage from the start of the season to the play-offs in the autumn culminating in the Million Pound Game – and include every match of the Summer Bash featuring all 14 clubs in a single venue on the same weekend.

With one game from every regular round, that means more than 30 Betfred Championship fixtures.

The contract also includes coverage of seven Betfred Challenge Cup ties through the spring, as Premier Sports have secured secondary rights to the competition - including two of the quarter-finals.

Michael O’Rourke, the Premier Sports founder and joint CEO, said: “We are delighted to be covering the Rugby League Championship once again and taking coverage to another level with the pick of each round’s fixtures on a Monday night.

Sheffield Eagles' Josh Guzdek takes on Bradford Bulls' Aaron Murphy in the opening game of the 2021 Betfred Championship season. Next year, matches will be shown live by Premier Sports. (John Clifton/SWpix.com)

“We look forward to bringing viewers a terrific line-up of top presenters and pundits to review each weekend’s talking points before showcasing the game of the round live.

“We believe this, alongside Challenge Cup matches, the Summer Bash and the Million Pound Game, will come together to make a really strong offering for Rugby League supporters.”

Ralph Rimmer, the RFL Chief Executive, said: “This is such an exciting and positive announcement for the Betfred Championship clubs, and for the sport as a whole.

“Premier Sports have been excellent partners for the sport in the past, with their coverage of the Championship and also the 2013 World Cup, and it’s great to have them back in Rugby League.

“They played a key role in pioneering Thursday night Rugby League, and now we will be working with all our clubs to ensure the success of regular Monday night matches – which provide the Championship with a fantastic platform.

“I know Premier Sports have exciting plans to offer special subscription incentives for season ticket holders from the Betfred Championship clubs.

“One of the highlights of the 2021 season has been the re-emergence of the Betfred Championship and League 1 competitions after the disruption caused by the pandemic in 2020.

“We’ve seen again the quality of players on the field and the passion of the supporters off it.

“The competition promises to be even more exciting in 2022 with the involvement of so many proud and ambitious clubs – and with Premier Sports following it all the way.”