Exclusive: Super League to enter negotiations over new free-to-air deals for 2024, not just limited to Channel 4

Aaron Bower
Paul Sculthorpe, SWPix

Picture by Allan McKenzie/SWpix.com

Rugby League Commercial boss Rhodri Jones admits conversations over what Super League’s free-to-air coverage looks like in 2024 can now begin – before hinting they will sound out interest from multiple broadcasters, not just Channel 4.

Sky Sports’ new three-year deal includes an allowance for Super League to continue on free-to-air television next year. That has led many to hope Channel 4’s highly-rated and well-received coverage can continue beyond the initial two-year agreement signed for the start of last season.

Jones told Love Rugby League that they expect to have ‘a very positive conversation’ with the broadcaster over extending their arrangement now that it is clear Super League can continue to be shown on free-to-air television.

But with the broadcaster not paying for the coverage in the first two years, all eyes are on RL Commercial and IMG to see how much money they can attract for terrestrial coverage of Super League.

“The Sky deal being agreed means we can now start those conversations with some clarity in terms of knowing what our free-to-air allowance is,” Jones said.

“It might be slightly different to what it is and what it looks like currently, and we’ll certainly have a very positive conversation with Channel 4 – but that’s not to say it will be the only conversation.”

Jones continued: “The BBC have supported rugby league for over 50 years, and ITV have shown plenty of rugby union.. is there a dual-code opportunity there? Who knows. That’s to name but three broadcasters.”

Rhodri Jones on OuRLeague plans

Jones also admitted that plans are already underway to revamp the OuRLeague app for 2024, with it looking increasingly likely it will broadcast more Super League games.

“It’s definitely part of the plan,” he said. “What OuRLeague looks like going forwards is something we need to consider, it’s going to be more akin to a TV channel.

“But at the same time, we can’t lose the reason why it was created. We’ve got to find the balance. The plan is a lot more content on that platform though, for sure.”

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