Written by John Davidson
The RFL has been given the green light to live stream more Championship games this season on its OurLeague platform after a new agreement was reached with Sky Sports.
Sky hold the broadcast rights to the Championship but do not show the competition.
Everything Rugby League understands Sky will allow the RFL to stream every game from the second tier at the start of the 2021 season while the fixtures are being played with no crowds behind closed doors because of the Coronavirus.
The Championship season is expected to start on April 2 on the Easter weekend, after being moved back from the last weekend in February.
Last year Sky allowed the RFL to broadcast one game per round on OurLeague.
But in 2021 this has been increased to two games per round, and all matches early on in the season while they are being played behind closed doors.
The second division matches will be free to view for current season ticket holders, but will cost the wider public to view.
It is believed the Championship games will all have a minimum standards for production values, which will include two cameras, graphics, quality commentator and guest analyst.
Everything Rugby League understands the cost of the broadcast to the clubs will be around £1250 per match to feature on OurLeague, but clubs are also free to arrange their own broadcast coverage provided it meets the minimum standards. This has been confirmed by several sources.
The Championship has been starved of TV coverage, apart from the annual Summer Bash, since Sky took the rights over from Premier Sports.
With the current Super League broadcast deal expiring at the end of this year, it is believed the new deal with Sky will not include rights to the Championship or League 1.
Sky is expected to pay between £28 million to £30 million to screen two live Super League matches per round in 2022, as well as having exclusive rights to the semi-finals and the grand final.
The RFL already owns the rights to televise League 1, Women’s Super League and 1895 Cup matches and plans to continue to live stream those games on OurLeague this year.