Column: Rugby League’s media coverage is better than ever

We need to stop moaning about the sport’s media coverage! It has been quality this year.

During the World Cup, the lack of coverage for rugby league was slammed by supporters and it has carried on ever since.

But why? I just don’t get it.

We have got great coverage at the minute in the papers, online and on television.

Some fans were delighted when Sky Sports announced it would be broadcasting a couple of NRL games per week but others bemoaned the fact that every single game of the season wasn’t on Premier Sports anymore.

Let’s look at the positives. It’s on Sky, rather than Premier. Millions of people have Sky Sports subscriptions than the people who have Premier, so the game is getting more exposure in that sense.

But let’s take nothing away from Premier either, who have a deal in place to cover Toronto Wolfpack games. This is great because the Championship is also getting recognised.

Sky Sports also broadcast at least two Super League games per-week, sometimes three, if Catalans Dragons are playing at home. This is also great because it means half of the league’s fixtures are being shown to a wide audience.

BBC Sport do a great job, too. The Super League Show, presented by Tanya Arnold, has been a great highlights show for a number of years now while they have also been streaming early rounds of the Challenge Cup on their website in recent years.

Rugby AM have moved over to FreeSports this year and their weekly shows have been great exposure because it’s on freeview. Fair play to Alex Simmons & co, their progress has shot through the roof in such a small amount of time.

We have only discussed televised coverage thus far, does this not show how good the coverage of our sport is?

We have two great trade weekly newspapers in League Express and League Weekly while we enjoy the Forty-20 and Rugby League World magazines – fabulous and engaging content in all.

National newspapers have been providing strong and continuous coverage as well of the new season. Julie Stott has been writing articles for the Daily Star on a daily basis while Gareth Walker, Aaron Bower, Ross Heppenstall and Gary Carter also publish regular content for The Mirror, The Guardian, Daily Express and The Sun respectively. All the local papers do a good job, too.

However, the thing is, people want everything for nothing, so they don’t fancy paying money for a paper. Well, if you do, you will find plenty of articles on rugby league.

There are so, so many podcasts as well. BBC Radio Manchester, Proper Sport, TalkSPORT 2, League Express, Whippets and Flat Caps, BBC 5 Live and Love Rugby League produce them regularly so check them out! They make for fun listening.

We also run a daily feature called ‘Rugby League Today’, which sums up all of the media coverage and latest goings on in the world of rugby league, so keep an eye out for that every morning.

In all sports, but rugby league in particular, we are quick to look at the negatives rather than the positives. But let’s look on the bright side.

Let’s be real, rugby league is probably the same size as football’s division three, or League One as its now known. Rugby league gets a lot more coverage than our counterparts so we are quite lucky in many respects.

Of course, I would like there to be a lot more media coverage but we have got to be realistic with the size of the sport. It’s good at the moment so long may it continue.

We are getting good coverage, regionally and nationally. If you buy into the current media, there’ll be more, without a doubt.

About Drew Darbyshire 8360 Articles
Love Rugby League Deputy Editor. Joined the site ahead of the 2017 World Cup and been a full-time reporter since 2018.

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