Share on Reddit reddit Spark and TVNZ have privately agreed on contingency plans in the event of a major malfunction of a Rugby World Cup broadcast by the telco provider — the most significant of which is the promise that the test will be shown on free-to-air television within five minutes of an outage. Both organisations are working closely together seven months out from the first World Cup match in Japan after they won the broadcasting rights last year. Under the agreement, Spark will broadcast every match — at a cost to viewers — while TVNZ will show seven matches live, including the competition opener and final, plus several delayed games.
The Beeb showed 57 hours of league this year and broadcast 50 live commentaries on national radio.
They are essential to the game retaining its status in the mainstream media. Just 4.
McIntyre told MPs and Lords that the Beeb had been requesting to move the Challenge Cup final back into early summer for the last five years, especially away from August Bank Holiday which is the worst for viewing figures in the whole year! The RFL have finally listened.
Consequently almost as many people watched the Super League semi-final highlights on BBC1 on a Saturday lunchtime — long after the games happened — as tuned in for the Challenge Cup final showpiece.
Empty stands turn off TV viewers, thus devaluing the event for the broadcasters in negotiation and decreasing income from the RFL.
An outsider would wonder why they are obsessing with the Challenge Cup when the FA Cup final has lost its magic and rugby union long since gave up on their domestic cup.
Instead, the RFL should be putting their chips on England. Year on year, the BBC get almost as many viewers for the handful of international matches as they do the whole domestic season, double in World Cup years. More than 4 million watched the three England v New Zealand Tests this autumn.
And yet England have played just 23 times in five seasons since the World Cup, and two of those games were not even on telly! Instead, the Super League clubs voted for three extra home games each — which brings negligible income for many clubs — rather than expand the international calendar.
McIntyre and Slater were also positive about the share of female viewers four in 10 and young people, although pensions remain the biggest audience. Online viewing is double what it was two years ago. Best of all, we like Chappers, Tanya, Nobby and the team.
The audience approval rating for rugby league is the highest of all BBC Sport output, better even than Wimbledon. The governing body and clubs need to do all they can to keep the BBC onboard: yes, work harder to sell tickets for cup ties but also give the Beeb what they want, when they want it.
If they did, would ITV or Channel 4 even be interested given that they now show rugby union?
We have been warned. Terrified of a repeat of the 40, empty seats when Catalans won the cup last August, the RFL have used a loophole to treat overseas teams — who are not RFL members and are invited into the competition — differently.
They were told they must stump up for any shortfall in ticket sales if they reach the final and Toronto refused. Imagine if the Dragons had declined to defend their title! Surely the RFL should have taken out insurance against certain teams not just the overseas clubs but the likes of Salford, Huddersfield, London etc getting to Wembley.
For more listen to the Full Eighty Minutes.
The biggest club in the well-established Serbian competition, Red Star have thrived in recent years and clinched the Balkan Super League having been runners-up last year. It will be interesting to see who turns out for them in the cup. A couple of their British recruits have already signed for League 1 clubs here but they are technically able to register any free agents to play for them in the cup.
Could be some interesting guest appearances.
All other games will be on the red button and online. They will not have been short of things to discuss. And Theresa May thinks she has her hands full.