Written by Callum Walker
The proposal to screen all Super League matches – when, of course, it is safe to do so – and offer some games on pay-per-view to raise funds for clubs at all levels is certainly a unique stance, but it is one that needs careful consideration. With news being revealed of cuts to players’ wages across Super League, the time is nigh to come up with some kind of solution and this just may be the way forward.
The plan focuses on returning to play behind closed doors and televising every single top-flight fixture from one venue each weekend. A group of administrators, players and coaches put their heads together following an initial idea broached by players’ agent Craig Harrison after fears that the current lockdown could cause irreparable damage for some clubs financially.
Those games that would not be shown live on Sky Sports would be offered on a pay-per-view basis so every professional club had a chance to bring in much-needed income. For it to work, each fan would state their chosen club when purchasing the match with that payment going directly to their club. Even more impressive, season-ticket holders for the “home” team are able to watch games for free.
We’ll be showing NINE hours of Magic Weekend classics on May 23rd & 24th!🏟️
Including SIX FULL GAMES!🙌
2012: Huddersfield v Salford
2014: Wigan v Leeds
2012: Hull KR v Hull FC
2013: Saints v Warrington
2007: Bradford v Leeds
— Sky Sports Rugby League (@SkySportsRL) April 21, 2020
Such an idea has already received widespread backing throughout the Rugby League fraternity, including from high-profile ex-players such as Kevin Sinfield, Jamie Peacock and Daryl Powell.
During such testing times, it is necessary that the sport has a plan to ensure club owners are prepared for whatever happens next, though that is becoming increasingly difficult as some things continue to be up in the air. The consideration of possible self-sustenance and generating income to give owners an impetus to keep involved is vital in order for the sport to survive.
Of course, with Sky ruling the roost in Rugby League as well as in most sports, it is essential that their support can be counted on. And, with this pay-per-view games idea currently seeming the most plausible, Sky’s endorsement could finally give the sport some security for the future.