RFL chief executive Nigel Wood insists the Monday night fixtures will benefit the sport during the football off season.
Monday night’s game between Leeds and St Helens was the first of several regular Monday night fixtures which will take over the hugely popular Monday Night Football time slot on Sky Sports.
And Wood says the televised fixtures will open the sport up to a new audience.
He said: “I thought the innovative coverage by Sky Sports was excellent and perfectly captured what Super League action is all about.
“The Leeds v St Helens match will have introduced a whole new television audience to the thrills and spills of the country’s most exciting team sport and I’m sure all of them will be back for more.”
Super League is embracing Monday night fixtures, but the NRL has been broadcasting Monday night games since 1985 before later scrapping the weeknight fixture. It was brought back in 2007 on Fox Sports and has proved to be a ratings success despite low attendances at matches.
Neville Smith, executive producer for rugby league on Sky Sports said: “The Monday night slot is an iconic one in sports broadcasting, and we have another eight Super League matches to show on Monday nights through the summer including Wigan v Widnes and the Hull derby.”
However there has been a mixed response from fans, with many condemning the fixtures due to the matches being held on a school night.
Writing on the Love Rugby League Facbook page, Timothy Harris wrote: “Fans are having to leave St Helens in rush hour traffic to get to Leeds in time.
“Anyone working late or have kids with school tomorrow may not be allowed or able to go to matches. The away crowds might rather stay and watch it on TV than struggle in the bad traffic.”
Chris Cape wrote: “Great for Sky viewers, going to be bad for gate money at the grounds.”
However Craig Tanner supported the move for Monday night fixtures, writing: “Sounds a great idea to me. More forward planning should be made for Monday night fixtures, but it definitely fills a spot now football has finished.”
What did you think of Monday night’s fixture? Are you a fan of Monday Night Rugby League, or because of work or school are you struggling to attend matches?
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