RFL chief Nigel Wood delighted with new Sky Sports rugby league deal
Last Updated: 31/01/14 12:32pm
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Rugby Football League chief executive Nigel Wood has welcomed the new five-year television rights deal with Sky Sports.
The new deal from 2017 will take the partnership between Sky and the RFL beyond 30 years.
The agreement will guarantee Sky Sports viewers live rugby league for at least eight more seasons and also over 100 matches a season from 2015 when a new league structure will mean coverage of matches from a 12-team Championship alongside the 12-club Super League.
Under the new deal commencing in 2017, only on Sky Sports will viewers be offered over 80 live Super League matches including Magic Weekend featuring every team, every Play-Off and the Super League Grand Final, live coverage of selected Challenge Cup matches, live coverage of Championship matches and live coverage of the World Club Challenge.
Wood, who is also chief executive of Super League, 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.
"Whilst the new contract does not come into effect until 2017, it allows for the return of live Championship action to Sky Sports from next year which will complement their first class coverage of the First Utility Super League and capture the thrills and drama of new-look competitions where every match matters.
"Following on from the success of Rugby League World Cup 2013, the forging of significant commercial partnerships around the First Utility Super League and the decision by the clubs to embrace the new league structures, this is another momentous day for the sport."
Barney Francis, managing director of Sky Sports, said: "This really is a fantastic time to be a rugby league supporter.
"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."