Super League has agreed a new deal with Sky Sports to keep the sport on the channel until at least the end of the 2021 season.
The five-year contract is an extension to the existing deal that ends in 2017, and is also set to encompass the Championship from 2015.
That decision has led to speculation that the Championship may be re-branded as Super League II when the recently announced re-structure of two 12s splitting in to three eights comes in to the force at the end of this season.
Under the new deal, more than 80 live Super League matches will be shown, as well as every play-off match, the Grand Final, the whole Magic Weekend, selected Challenge Cup matches and the World Club Challenge.
Nigel Wood, Super League and RFL Chief Executive said: “I am delighted that we have been able to agree a new contract with Sky Sports that will extend our hugely successful partnership until the end of the 2021 season. The association with Sky Sports has enabled rugby league to realise many of its ambitions over the last two decades and this new contract will allow the whole sport to grow still further as we enter an exciting chapter in our history.
“Throughout our negotiations it was clear that Sky were genuinely excited by the league structures that we are putting in place from 2015 onwards. This partnership will help transform the sport at every level and we look forward to working with Sky and all our clubs on what I am sure will be a golden era for everyone involved in rugby league.”
It is understood that no other broadcasters were involved in discussions, with Sky seemingly keen to protect its portfolio, announcing this new deal alongside a raft of renewals, including British Lions rugby union, Speedway and Scottish football.
Barney Francis, Managing Director of Sky Sports said: “This new deal is great news for Sky Sports and our customers, who will enjoy at least eight more years of live rugby league and an exciting new structure for the sport in the UK.
“This new deal will take Sky’s partnership with the RFL to 30 years, 26 of those between Sky Sports and Super League. Now, at the dawn of an exciting new era for rugby league, we’re thrilled that the premier competition in the UK will continue to be available only on Sky Sports until at least 2021. We’re also pleased to be bringing even more live coverage meanwhile, with over 80 matches in 2014 and over 100 a season from 2015 onwards.”
Sky’s coverage of Super League continues when it broadcasts the first game of the 2014 season between champions Wigan and 2013 league leaders Huddersfield on Friday February 7.