SKY confirm National Leagues deal


Widnes Vikings and Leigh Centurions will kick off SKY Sports' new live coverage of the National Leagues.

The announcement was made earlier today and the game will take place in a double header with Leeds and Bradford on Thursday 5th April.

The deal is thought to be a crucial step in RFL attempts to get a sponsor for the league, which they have yet to find following the end of previous sponsor LHF Healthplan's deal.

The RFL have reached an agreement with SKY Sports which means the premier Rugby League broadcaster will show up to 25 live National League matches per season for the next two years, as well as play-off games and Grand Finals day.

All live games will be shown on Thursday nights, normally kicking off at 7.30pm. Leigh and Widnes' clash at the Halton Stadium will begin at 6pm.

Commenting on the news, the RFL’s Chief Operating Officer Nigel Wood said: “This new broadcast agreement is a tremendous development for the National Leagues.

“Sky Sport’s coverage means that the undoubted excitement and vibrancy of the sport at his level can now be seen by a UK wide audience.

“It is also tremendous news that Rugby League is now receiving unprecedented levels of broadcast exposure. This will clearly assist the continued growth of the sport”.

Wood added: “The National Leagues regularly provide many thrilling games and we believe Sky Sports viewers will thoroughly enjoy following the season as it progresses to an exciting climax”.

Also welcoming the agreement, Neville Smith, Executive Producer of Rugby League on Sky Sports, said: "We’re delighted we’ve been able to expand our British Rugby League coverage and look forward to giving the National League the Sky Sports treatment."

SKY will also keep their live coverage of the Northern Rail Cup Final.