Wildcats amongst Super League clubs to benefit from new Sky deal

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WAKEFIELD Wildcats will be amongst the clubs to benefit from a new £90 million television deal between Sky and the Rugby Football League (RFL) for rights to cover the Engage Super League.

The five-year deal will run from the start of next season until the end of the 2016 campaign and will see clubs in the top flight bag over £1m a year for the first time.

The Wildcats could have missed out on the deal, which bucks the trend of declining television revenues in other sports, had they not been given the nod to continue amongst the elite at last week’s licensing announcement.

Instead they’ll cash in along with the other 13 Super League clubs, which will include Widnes Vikings from next season, on a deal which replaces the current three-year coverage agreement, believed to be worth around £50 million.

“At a time when broadcast fees in sport have been under real pressure, this is a tremendous outcome for the sport of rugby league,’’ said RFL chairman Richard Lewis.

“It clearly demonstrates the confidence that Sky Sports has in the game’s current and future appeal and will give everyone involved in the sport a real boost.

“This is the first time we have sold domestic rights independently of international rights and so it bodes well for those sales which will be concluded either later this year or early next year.

“The extended partnership from three to five years will enable us to plan for the future and tackle the issues we need to address in order to make Super League stronger.”

The deal is exclusive for Super League and will mean the RFL can still negotiate deals for coverage of the Carnegie Challenge Cup and international matches.

See this week’s Wakefield Express Sport for all the latest sports news from around the district.