‘Everybody needs a Derek Beaumont’ – Leigh coach shares fears amid ‘massive’ new incoming TV deal

Ben Olawumi
Adrian Lam and Derek Beaumont

Adrian Lam and Derek Beaumont have headed up a transformation on and off the pitch at Leigh - Alamy

Leigh Leopards head coach Adrian Lam believes that Super League’s new TV deal is exactly what the game needs, but concedes that clubs are going to have to rely more heavily on benefactors like owner Derek Beaumont in the short-term.

Announced earlier this week, the new deal will see every Super League game broadcast live in some way. Sky Sports will remain the principal broadcast partner, as they have been since the competition was founded in 1996, but it’s believed that more games will be shown on free-to-air TV.

Channel 4 have this year been allowed to screen 10 Super League clashes, including Leigh’s recent trip to neighbours Wigan Warriors.

Leigh boss Adrian Lam discusses new Super League TV deal

Leopards chief Lam couldn’t be happier about the fact that the game he is so passionate about is going to get more screen time.

He said: “It’s massive news for the sport. I know there’s some talk on the outside about fans not going to the game, but I don’t think that’s going to be the case.

“The great thing about rugby league is that it gives people an opportunity to have a routine at the weekend and support their team, whether it’s on TV or not.

“Financially, it can only benefit us, it can only get us exposure and take our game to the next level. With all of that then comes backing and corporate stuff and sponsorships, the big package comes into play with all that.

“I’m really excited for the game here in Super League in the UK, we’re heading in the right direction and we can build off that.

“This is the starting point for our sport. What’s needed is to get us right across the whole country on TV, get every game on every possible station that we can.

“It can only be great for our sport, let’s put everything into that and we’ll work with what’s around us as we look to grow the game over the next five or 10 years.”

Leopards enjoying life in the big league: ‘Everybody needs a Derek Beaumont’

Much has been made of Leigh since their promotion up from the Championship last October, and rightly so.

Owner Beaumont has overseen a successful re-brand, introducing the ‘Leopards’ tagline, with Papua New Guinean Lam masterminding a first Challenge Cup triumph in 52 years earlier this month with victory over Hull KR at Wembley.

Off the pitch, Beaumont has also introduced bands and artists playing pre-match at the Leigh Sports Village every single home game, kickstarting with Scouting for Girls ahead of the season opener against Salford Red Devils in February.

Lam has praised the club’s owner, and admitted that more clubs are going to need someone like him involved given that the new TV deal has seen an estimated £5 million drop in value compared to the previous one penned in 2021.

He added: “For our club, it’s a massive boost, and I think we’ve played our part this year with the entertainment side of things off the field.

“Whilst we’ve been very competitive and winning on it, I think Derek has led the way as the owner of our club. You come to this ground, to a match here, and it’s an event.

“People look forward to coming, and I’m very grateful of what’s happened with the sport with the TV deal. It’s hard to comment on other clubs, and I’m not quite sure of the details of the deal because it’s obviously breaking news, but I would presume that moving forward clubs are going to be in need of people like him.

Everybody needs a Derek Beaumont, an owner that can financially assist, it’s that way in every sport. How the detail of this deal unfolds, we’ll get a better understanding and a better idea of it as we go along.”

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