Richie Myler believes Super League’s ground-breaking TV deal with Channel 4 can take the sport to higher levels.
The competition has confirmed that 10 matches will be screened live over each of the next two seasons. It is the first time in Super League’s 26-year history that games will be shown live on free-to-air TV, and runs alongside their existing agreement with Sky.
The deal will kick off with Leeds against Warrington on Saturday February 12 – and Rhinos full-back Myler sees it as a significant step for the whole sport. Myler said: “It’s massive for rugby league.
“Sky have been tremendous for the sport for so long – now this is another string to the bow which can hopefully take the game to a new audience.
“We have a core of diehard fans that support rugby league through thick and thin – it’s such a family sport. Others see it just as a northern game, which it has been to an extent.
“But now with the influence of two French teams in the competition it can be really appealing for a wider audience.
“Our product is phenomenal and rugby league people always say that if you introduce somebody to a game, they never leave disappointed. This allows more people to access it more easily, which is the biggest thing.”
The opening Channel 4 game pits Myler’s Rhinos against his former club Warrington – and sees his new team-mate Blake Austin take on the club he has just left. Myler added: “The character he is and the personality he has, I know he won’t shy away from that challenge.
“This TV deal is coming at a really important time for rugby league. We’re hopefully coming out of Covid, and throughout all of that everyone rallied together. It was almost like having something we’d all taken for granted taken away from us for a while – the sport was off the tele and we couldn’t train and play.
“Now we’re fully back up and running again and it’s where can we take it now to make it even bigger? This is a really good opportunity to do that.”
The 10-game per season deal will include two play-off matches each season. Channel 4 head of sport Peter Andrews said: “We’re absolutely thrilled to be bringing Super League to free to air television for the first time in its history.
“It’s fantastic news for rugby league fans and it’s a really special addition to Channel 4’s sports portfolio particularly since it’s one of our first major partnerships since moving to our new National HQ building at the Majestic in Leeds.”
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