Rugby league strikes 12-year strategic deal with IMG

Drew Darbyshire
Super League balls IMG Rugby Football League

The Rugby Football League and Super League have agreed a 12-year strategic deal with global management company IMG to help reimagine rugby league.

IMG are a global leader in sports, event, media and fashion owned by Endeavor. IMG will help reimagine rugby league and its competitions in the UK.

The agreement follows the recent decision for the RFL and Super League to re-align; and form a new joint venture company.

IMG has assembled a team of experts across its media business and the Endeavor network to work with the newly-combined entity on strategically repositioning the sport to maximise its commercial potential for long-term growth.

The agency will initially focus on competition re-structuring, content production and innovation, domestic and international distribution of media rights, digital transformation powered by IMG’s digital sports arm Seven League.

RFL chairman Simon Johnson said: “In recent years, an immense amount of work has gone on. In              initially protecting the sport through the pandemic and then setting it on a course for real growth.

“The Governance re-alignment was key and a prerequisite to attracting a partnership such as this. IMG is a global giant in the sports and entertainment industry and this alliance is fantastically exciting for our future.

“Coupled with the Men’s, Women’s and Wheelchair World Cups which are set for the autumn on home soil; I have no doubt that 2022 will now prove to be a watershed year in the history of rugby league; and this announcement will be the keystone in future success.”

Super League chairman delighted with IMG deal

Super League chairman Ken Davy said: “Over the last 18 months, Super League has focused on analysing and defining the future of the competition, with two key elements being identified.

“These were to grow commercial revenues in a realignment with the RFL. The other was to find a strategic partner.

“We consulted widely on the strategic partner to find someone who bought into our vision for the Super League competition; and the sport of rugby league as a whole.

“In IMG we have a world-renowned partner that has all the requisite strengths to ensure the sport’s continued growth and development.”

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