Confirmed: Video referee at every Super League game in 2024 as Sky Sports confirm new deal

Ben Olawumi
Sky Sports mic Alamy

Further details of the Super League TV deal coming into play from 2024 have been released, with confirmation that every game will be broadcast and have a video referee in place.

First reported by Love Rugby League back in July, Sky Sports and RL Commercial have now announced a three-year extension to their rights deal, running until the end of the 2026 season.

The new deal – labelled ‘transformational’ – will see every Super League match broadcast live, with 170 games shown each year across Sky’s channels and other platforms.

That tally includes the Grand Finals across Men’s, Women’s and Wheelchair. Last night, the Old Trafford showdown between Wigan Warriors and Catalans Dragons was available to Sky customers in ‘Ultra HD’ for the first time.

There were also ‘corner’ cameras in place as the Cherry and Whites triumphed 10-2, intended to capture any eye-catching finishes, but they weren’t required with the only try of the game from Liam Marshall unchallenged and further towards the sticks than the edge.

Video referee in place at every Super League game; Further details released of new TV deal

RL Commercial Managing Director Rhodri Jones gave an exclusive interview to Love Rugby League in August after the proposed new TV deal had been accepted by clubs at a behind-closed-doors meeting.

Jones revealed that Sky had beaten off competition from broadcasters including DAZN and TNT Sports, largely due to the fact they were offering to show all six games in every round, utilising new platforms to be able to do this.

The full details are still to be confirmed, but the expectation is that a platform similar to OurLeague will be used by Sky alongside the games which are broadcast on the ‘regular’ TV Channels. RL Commercial‘s press release last night stated that further details of this would be confirmed this autumn.

One thing is for sure though, and that’s the video referee being in place at every game, to ‘bring increased consistency and integrity to the sport’, as many Super League coaches have been calling for throughout the year and long before.

This new three-year deal comes as part of the ‘Reimagining Rugby League’ project developed alongside IMG as part of their strategic partnership. Again, full details are awaited, but the release also confirmed that free-to-air games will remain in some capacity. Channel 4 have had access to 10 games in each of the last two years.

New TV deal will take Super League to ‘a new level’ as we enter ‘an exciting new era’

This year was the last one – at least for now – where promotion and relegation have been decided solely by on-the-field activity.

Wakefield Trinity dropped out of Super League for the first time in 25 years, and they’ll be replaced by either Toulouse Olympique or London Broncos who face off in the Championship Grand Final later today. IMG’s Grading strategy will begin from 2024, with the off-the-field goings on at a club just as important as what they do on it.

RL Commercial chief Jones believes the new TV deal comes at the right time as the game enters ‘an exciting new era’.

He said: “Super League’s partnership with Sky Sports has been constantly evolving since the competition was launched in 1996, and we are excited to have confirmed this significant extension which will lift that partnership, and the Super League itself, to a new level.

“To have all six fixtures in every round of the men’s Super League televised will offer major new opportunities for RL Commercial and our clubs, as well as allowing supporters to watch many more matches – and also making it possible for us to have video referees at all matches, a truly significant development for the Super League competition.

“The timing is perfect for a deal of this kind after such an exciting and competitive season underlining the genuine depth of the competition, and with Rugby League embarking on an exciting new era through our strategic partnership with IMG.

“Sky Sports also share our optimism about the potential for growth of the Women’s and Wheelchair Super Leagues in the next three years, so they also form an important part of the new deal.”

Elsewhere, Super League have this week also confirmed an extension to Betfred‘s competition naming rights.

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