Australia’s National Rugby League (NRL) has agreed a broadcast rights deal with Sky Sports.
The pay-TV giant will show almost 200 rugby league matches per year for five years in the UK and Ireland.
The new deal includes three NRL Telstra Premiership weekly matches per round, the NRL Premiership finals series and Grand Final, and the Holden State of Origin Series.
In addition, Sky Sports will show the small-sided Nines Tournament, the NRL All Stars, and Trans-Tasman, Pacific Test and Australian Test matches.
Premier Sports had previously held the UK rights to the NRL from 2013.
Barney Francis, managing director of Sky Sports, said: “Sky Sports is the home of rugby league, and the addition of NRL brings the global game to our customers. We have the best of both hemispheres for Sky Sports Action and Arena to deliver every thrilling moment of one of the toughest leagues in world sport.”
Todd Greenberg, chief executive at the NRL, added: “We’re delighted that Sky Sports will be showcasing rugby league to this extent in 2018 and beyond. Our aim is always to ensure that as many people as possible are able to watch rugby league, and this deal will further ensure that the NRL Premiership as well as many more of our elite competitions and games will get the audience they deserve.”
The NRL season gets underway on 8th March, and Sky’s first televised games begin on 10th March when the South Sydney Rabbitohs take on the New Zealand Warriors and 2017 champions Melbourne Storm play the Canterbury Bulldogs.