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Super League

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Title: Super League  
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Subject: Kallum Watkins, Peter Fox (rugby league, born 1984), Rugby Football League, Pat Richards, Clash of the Codes (rugby)
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Super League

First Utility Super League
Country  England
Other club(s) from  France
Confederation RFL
Founded 1996
Number of teams 12
Levels on pyramid 1
Relegation to Kingstone Press Championship
Domestic cup(s) Challenge Cup
International cup(s) World Club Series
Current champions
St Helens (6th title)
Most championships
St Helens
Leeds Rhinos
(6 titles)
TV partners Sky Sports & BBC (highlights)
Super League XIX

The First Utility Super League (sponsored by utility supplier First Utility from 2014) is the top-level professional rugby league club competition in Europe. The league has twelve teams: eleven from England and one from France. The current champions are St Helens RFC.

Super League began in 1996, replacing the RFL Championship and switching from a winter to a summer season. Each team plays 23 games between February and July: 11 home games, 11 away games and a Magic Weekend game at a neutral venue. At the end of the season, the top eight teams enter a Super 8 stage, playing each other once more. The top four then enter the play-off series leading to the Grand Final which determines the champions.

The Super League champions play against the National Rugby League (NRL) champions (from Australia/New Zealand) in the Probiz World Club Challenge.


1996–2001: Establishment

The competition was first mooted during the Australian Super League war as a way for Rupert Murdoch to gain the upper hand during the battle for broadcasting supremacy with the Australian Rugby League. Murdoch also approached the British clubs to form Super League. A large sum of money aided the decision, and the competition got under way in 1996. Part of the deal saw rugby league switch from a winter to a summer season.

"Supporters will see a better game in better surroundings, and the deal will see their sport receive a greater profile nationally and internationally."
Rodney Walker, RFL chairman, welcomes Super League, 5 April 1995[1]
Tetley's was the League's title sponsor from 2001–2005
Initially, several mergers between existing clubs were proposed:

They were to be included with the following stand-alone clubs: Bradford Northern, Halifax, Leeds, London Broncos, Paris Saint-Germain, St. Helens and Wigan.

However this proved so unpopular that only existing clubs were selected for the competition. The clubs finishing below 10th in the existing top flight were excluded, which meant Featherstone Rovers, Hull, Wakefield Trinity and Widnes were left out, as were pioneering club Keighley Cougars who had just won the Second Division Championship. London Broncos, who had come fourth in the Second Division, were "fast-tracked" in on commercial grounds. A new team, Paris Saint-Germain, was created to give a French dimension.

2002–2008: Promotion and relegation

After two years Paris were dropped from the competition. Promotion and relegation between Super League and the Rugby League National Leagues was re-introduced, and in 2002 the Super League Europe (SLE) governing body re-integrated fully into the Rugby Football League (RFL). In 2006, French side Catalans Dragons (also known as UTC or Les Catalans) from Perpignan joined the league, becoming the second non-English team to compete. To facilitate this move, two clubs were relegated from Super League at the end of the 2005 season: Leigh who finished bottom of the league were replaced by the one club coming up from the National Leagues and Widnes who finished 11th (and would have stayed up any other year) were dropped for Les Catalans, thus the number of clubs in Super League remained at 12.

2009–2014: Licensing

Super League licences were announced in May 2005 by the RFL as the new determinant of the Super League competition's participants from 2009 in place of promotion and relegation. The licences were awarded after consideration of more factors than just the on-the-field performance of a club.[2] After 2007 automatic promotion and relegation was suspended for Super League with new teams to be admitted on a licence basis with the term of the licence to start in 2009.[2]

The RFL stated that clubs applying to compete in Super League would be assessed by criteria in four areas (stadium facilities, finance and business performance, commercial and marketing and playing strength, including junior production and development) with the final evaluations and decisions being taken by the RFL board of directors.[3]

Successful applicants were licensed for three years of Super League competition and[4] three-yearly reviews of Super League membership took place to ensure ambitious clubs lower down the leagues can still be successful.[3]

Points attained by each club's application are translated into license grades A, B or C. Clubs who achieved an A or B Licence would be automatically awarded a place in Super League, while those who achieved a C Licence underwent further scrutiny before the RFL decided who made the final cut.[5]

First licensing period

In June 2008, the RFL confirmed that Super League would be expanded from 12 teams to 14 in 2009,[6][7] and on 22 July 2008 the RFL confirmed the teams awarded licenses.[8] The teams announced were the 12 existing Super League teams along with National League 1 teams, Celtic Crusaders and Salford City Reds. Celtic Crusaders becoming the first Welsh team to play in Super League and the only team to be awarded a licenses who had never played in the Super League previously.

Featherstone Rovers, Halifax, Leigh Centurions and Widnes Vikings all failed to attain a licence. Leigh and Widnes, especially, were disappointed with their exclusions with Leigh's chairman being extremely critical of the RFL.[9]

Second licensing period

Logistics company Stobart Group was the League's title sponsor in 2012.
For the 2012–2014 seasons Championship sides Batley Bulldogs, Barrow Raiders, Featherstone Rovers, Halifax RLFC and Widnes Vikings all met the on-field criteria needed to submit an application,[10] but despite this only Barrow, Halifax and Widnes decided to submit an application.[11] On 31 March 2011 Widnes Vikings were awarded a Super League licence; Barrow Raiders, did not meet the criteria and were refused a licence; and Halifax's application was to be further considered alongside the other Super League clubs.[12]

The Rugby Football League's final decision was announced on 26 July 2011, Widnes would be joining thirteen existing Super League teams with Crusaders RL having withdrawn their application and Halifax not meeting the criteria.[13] Crusaders CEO Rod Findlay stated that the clubs finances were not in a good enough condition to justify their place in Super League.[14] Halifax chairman Mark Steele was critical of the decision to award Wakefield a licence over themselves, saying "If you compare Belle Vue with The Shay, it's no contest; if you compare playing records, it's no contest; and if you compare the financial position, we have kept our head above water and they haven't."[14] Wakefield had been favourites to lose their licence before Crusaders' withdrawal.[14]

Reintroducing Relegation (2015-Onwards)

2015 Rugby League Structure At the 2013 Annual General Meeting at Bradford, the Super League clubs agreed to reduce the number of clubs to 12 from 2015, and also for a return of Promotion and Relegation with a 12 club Championship.[15]

The 12 First Utility Super League and 12 Kingstone Press Championship clubs will play each other home and away over 22 rounds, including a Magic Weekend for both divisions. Following the conclusion of their regular league seasons, the 24 clubs will then compete in a play-off series where they split into 3 leagues of 8 based upon league position:[16][17]

  • The top 8 Super League clubs will continue to compete in the Super 8s. After playing each other once (either home or away), the top 4 clubs will progress to the semi-finals to determine who will compete in the Grand Final and be crowned champions.
  • The remaining (bottom 4) Super League clubs and the top 4 Championship clubs will compete in the Qualifiers. They will play each other once (either home or away) to determine which four of the clubs will compete in Super League the following year.
  • The remaining (bottom 8) Championship clubs will compete for the Championship Shield and to avoid relegation to Kingstone Press League 1. Two clubs will be relegated each year.

Funding for clubs will be tiered in both leagues to prevent relegation related financial difficulties.


Current clubs

Super League clubs
Colors Club Established City Stadium Capacity* Titles (Last)
Castleford Tigers 1925 Castleford, West Yorkshire The Mend-a-Hose Jungle 12,000 0 (N/A)
Catalans Dragons 2000 Perpignan, Pyrénées-Orientales, France Stade Gilbert Brutus 13,000 0 (N/A)
Huddersfield Giants 1864 Huddersfield, West Yorkshire John Smith's Stadium 24,500 7 (1962)
Hull F.C. 1865 Hull, East Riding of Yorkshire KC Stadium 25,404 6 (1983)
Hull Kingston Rovers 1882 Hull, East Riding of Yorkshire KC Lightstream Stadium 12,000 5 (1985)
Leeds Rhinos 1864 Leeds, West Yorkshire Headingley Carnegie Stadium 20,500 9 (2012)
Salford Red Devils 1873 Salford, Greater Manchester AJ Bell Stadium 12,000 6 (1976)
St Helens 1873 St. Helens, Merseyside Langtree Park 18,000 13 (2014)
Wakefield Trinity Wildcats 1873 Wakefield, West Yorkshire Rapid Solicitors Stadium 12,000 2 (1968)
Warrington Wolves 1876 Warrington, Cheshire Halliwell Jones Stadium 15,500 3 (1955)
Widnes Vikings 1875 Widnes, Cheshire Select Security Stadium 13,500 3 (1989)
Wigan Warriors 1872 Wigan, Greater Manchester DW Stadium 24,057 20 (2013)
  • *capacity for Rugby League games may differ from official stadium capacity.
  • *Gold - current Super League Champions

Clubs that have played in Super League

Previous Super League clubs
Colors Club Established City Stadium Capacity*
Bradford Bulls 1907 Bradford, West Yorkshire Odsal 27,491
Crusaders Rugby League 2005 Wrexham, Wales Racecourse Ground 15,500
Gateshead Thunder 1999 Gateshead, Tyne and Wear Thunderdome Stadium 11,800
Halifax RLFC 1873 Halifax, West Yorkshire The Shay 14,000
Leigh Centurions 1878 Leigh, Greater Manchester Leigh Sports Village 12,005
London Broncos 1980 Barnet, Greater London The Hive 5,176
Oldham Roughyeds 1876 Oldham, Greater Manchester Whitebank Stadium 1,500
Paris Saint-Germain 1995 Paris, France Stade Sébastien Charléty 20,000
Sheffield Eagles 1984 Sheffield, South Yorkshire Don Valley Stadium 15,000
Workington Town 1945 Workington, Cumbria Derwent Park 10,000

*capacity for Rugby League games may differ from official stadium capacity.

Current academies

In 2014 the following teams will run in each of the Senior Academy divisions:[18]


  • The Academy U19s competition is primarily for Super League clubs. Catalans Dragons does not currently have a teams in the league as they run their lower grade sides in the French league; however they will be joining the competition from 2015.
  • The Academy U19s competition has a 6 team play-off with a Grand Final at the end of the play-off series.
  • The Championships U20s have a 3 team play-off with a Grand Final at the end of the play-off series.
  • Many Super League, Championship and Championship 1 sides also have Academy U16 teams. They compete in a small number of games throughout the season and all such games are seen as friendly matches.

All Time Super League Table

  • Correct up to end of 2014 season.
Rank Name Seasons Playoff App Trophies Games Win Draw Loss Pts For Pts Agn Pts Diff Total Pts
1 St Helens RLFC* 19 17 20 509 361 14 134 16174 10012 6162 734
2 Wigan Warriors* 19 15 10 509 343 20 146 15190 9170 6020 700
3 Leeds Rhinos 19 17 13 509 335 14 160 14928 10335 4593 684
4 Bradford Bulls* 19 11 10 509 308 17 184 14620 11253 3367 617
5 Warrington Wolves 19 9 4 509 266 9 234 13491 12444 1036 541
6 Hull FC* 17 10 1 465 227 20 218 10908 10581 327 472
7 Castleford Tigers 17 5 0 454 186 18 250 10264 12132 -1884 390
8 London Broncos 19 2 0 509 185 20 304 10793 14229 -3436 390
9 Huddersfield Giants 16 7 1 437 189 8 240 10125 11204 -1063 386
10 Wakefield Trinity Wildcats* 16 3 0 441 160 6 275 9557 12478 -2908 320
11 Salford Red Devils* 16 1 0 432 134 7 291 8131 12593 -4462 273
12 Catalans Dragons 9 6 0 244 113 7 124 5740 6119 -379 233
13 Hull Kingston Rovers 8 4 0 216 99 7 110 5093 5430 -337 205
14 Halifax Blue Sox* 8 1 0 209 76 4 129 4646 5908 -1262 154
15 Widnes Vikings 7 1 0 193 68 6 119 4132 5989 -1857 142
16 Sheffield Eagles 4 0 1 97 37 3 57 2027 2663 -636 77
17 Gateshead Thunder 1 0 0 30 19 1 10 775 576 199 39
18 Crusaders RL* 3 1 0 81 21 0 60 1431 2463 -1032 38
19 Oldham Roughyeds 2 0 0 44 13 2 29 934 1312 -378 28
20 Paris Saint-Germain RL 2 0 0 44 9 1 34 760 1367 -607 5
21 Leigh Centurions 1 0 0 28 2 1 25 445 1210 -765 5
22 Workington Town 1 0 0 22 2 1 19 325 1021 -696 5

Point Deductions

  • 2001 - Wakefield - Salary Cap Breach - 2 points
  • 2003 - Halifax - Salary Cap Breach - 2 points
  • 2003 - Hull - Salary Cap Breach - 2 points
  • 2003 - St Helens - Salary Cap Breach - 2 points
  • 2006 - Bradford - Salary Cap Breach - 2 points
  • 2006 - Wigan - Salary Cap Breach - 2 points
  • 2007 - Bradford - Salary Cap Breach - 2 points
  • 2007 - Wigan - Salary Cap Breach - 4 points
  • 2011 - Wakefield - Administration - 4 points
  • 2011 - Crusaders - Administration - 4 points
  • 2012 - Bradford - Administration - 6 points
  • 2013 - Salford - Fielding Extra Man - 2 points
  • 2014 - Bradford - Administration - 6 points

"On the road"

In 2009, a match between Catalans Dragons and Warrington Wolves was staged at Barcelona's Olympic Stadium. London Broncos have also staged a number of games "on the road" including at Brisbane Road and Priestfield Stadium, both in 2012.

The Magic Weekend

In an attempt to expand out of the traditional rugby league "heartlands", and market the game to a wider audience, the RFL has staged games in large stadia, in places without a strong rugby league presence. The "Magic Weekend" concept, which involves staging an entire round of Super League in such a stadium, was first staged in Cardiff in 2007. Dubbed "Millennium Magic", and played in the Millennium Stadium, the concept was held in Cardiff again in 2008. In 2009 and 2010, the event was held in Edinburgh at the Scottish national rugby union stadium, giving rise to the name changing to "Murrayfield Magic". Generally held during the May Day weekend, 2011 saw the Magic Weekend return to Cardiff, and was held during the weekend 12–13 February, and serving as the season opener. It has since returned to its traditional mid-season slot and is currently held at the Etihad Stadium in Manchester.

Stadium Location Country Highest attendance Average attendance
St James' Park Newcastle England N/A N/A

Competition format

Regular Super League season

12 teams compete in Super League. They play each other twice on a home-and-away basis, interrupted by the Magic Weekend round in May. After the 27 rounds, the top eight teams carry their points forward and play each other once (home or away) in the Super Eights. A play-off series is used to determine the two teams who will meet in the Super League Grand Final to compete for the championship.

Super League play-off series

In 2015, the First Utility Super League play-offs will be contested by the four sides finishing highest in the league after the Super Eights. The structure is designed to reward the teams finishing nearer the top and the most consistent teams. The Grand Final is played at Old Trafford.

The current First Utility Super League Play-off structure:[19][20]

  • Super Eights
After the regular season the top eight teams in Super League carry the points they have earned in the regular season forward and play each other once.
  • Top four play-offs
These matches involve the teams who finish in the top four.
They are:
  • 1st v 4th
  • 2nd v 3rd
The winners play in the Grand Final.

The Grand Final

Stadium Location Country Highest attendance Average attendance
Old Trafford Trafford, Greater Manchester England 72,582 63,352

Qualification for international competition

Each year, the Super League champions play against the National Rugby League (NRL) champions (from Australia/New Zealand) in the Probiz World Club Challenge. This fixture is usually held at the beginning of the following season (during February).

Trophies and awards

League Leader's Shield

The League Leader's Shield is awarded to the team finishing the regular season top of Super League; this is also known as a minor premiership. The League Leader's Shield was introduced only in 2003, previously no prize was awarded to the team finishing top following the introduction of the Grand Final.

Super League Trophy

The winner of the Grand Final is given the Super League Trophy as Super League Champions. This is considered more prestigious than the minor premiership. Each year, the year of a champion team's triumph, team name and team captain are engraved.

The record for most Super League titles won is held by Leeds Rhinos, who won the title 6 times in 2004, 2007, 2008, 2009, 2011 & 2012. Leeds captain Kevin Sinfield currently holds the record for captaining the most Super League title winning sides after captaining Leeds to all 6 of their grand final successes. St Helens contested the final 6 years in a row (from 2006 until 2011) during which time they succeeded only once in lifting the trophy against Hull in 2006; after which they suffered consecutive defeats against Leeds Rhinos in 2007, 2008, 2009, Wigan Warriors in 2010 and Leeds Rhinos once again in 2011.

Luke Burgess with the Super League trophy in 2009 following the Leeds Rhinos becoming Super League champions for the third successive year.

Steve Prescott Man of Steel Award

The Man of Steel Award is an annual award for the best player of the season in Super League. It has continued from pre-Super League times, with the first such award given in 1977. It was renamed in honour of Steve Prescott in 2014.

Super League Dream Team

Each season a Super League Dream Team is also named. The best thirteen players in their respective positions are voted for by members of the sports press.

Super League Champions

See Rugby Football League Championship for the all-time list of champions since 1895.

The league format changed in 1998 and the championship became a play-off series to determine the Super League champions. This meant a reintroduction of a final to determine the European champions, the first since the 1972–73 season.

Season Grand Final Information League Leaders
Champions Score Runners-up
1996 N/A
N/A St Helens
1997 N/A
N/A Bradford Bulls
1998 Wigan Warriors 10–4 Leeds Rhinos Wigan Warriors
1999 St Helens 8–6 Bradford Bulls Bradford Bulls
2000 St Helens 29–16 Wigan Warriors Wigan Warriors
2001 Bradford Bulls 37–6 Wigan Warriors Bradford Bulls
2002 St Helens 19–18 Bradford Bulls St Helens
2003 Bradford Bulls 25–12 Wigan Warriors Bradford Bulls
2004 Leeds Rhinos 16–8 Bradford Bulls Leeds Rhinos
2005 Bradford Bulls 15–6 Leeds Rhinos St Helens
2006 St Helens 26–4 Hull F.C. St Helens
2007 Leeds Rhinos 33–6 St Helens St Helens
2008 Leeds Rhinos 24–16 St Helens St Helens
2009 Leeds Rhinos 18–10 St Helens Leeds Rhinos
2010 Wigan Warriors 22–10 St Helens Wigan Warriors
2011 Leeds Rhinos 32–16 St Helens Warrington Wolves
2012 Leeds Rhinos 26–18 Warrington Wolves Wigan Warriors
2013 Wigan Warriors 30–16 Warrington Wolves Huddersfield Giants
2014 St Helens 14–6 Wigan Warriors St Helens


Club Wins Winning years
St Helens
6 1996, 1999, 2000, 2002, 2006, 2014
Leeds Rhinos
6 2004, 2007, 2008, 2009, 2011, 2012
Bradford Bulls
4 1997, 2001, 2003, 2005
Wigan Warriors
3 1998, 2010, 2013
  • Bold - Winners were League Leaders

League Leaders

Club Wins Winning years
St Helens
7 1996, 2002, 2005, 2006, 2007, 2008, 2014
Wigan Warriors
4 1998, 2000, 2010, 2012
Bradford Bulls
4 1997, 1999, 2001, 2003
Leeds Rhinos
2 2004, 2009
Huddersfield Giants
1 2013
Warrington Wolves
1 2011
  • Bold - Winners were League Leaders

The Double

In rugby league, the term 'the Double' is referring to the achievement of a club that wins the top division and Challenge Cup in the same season. To date, this has been achieved by a total nine different clubs but by only three different clubs during the Super League era.

Club Wins Winning years
7 1989/90, 1990/91, 1991/92, 1992/93, 1993/94, 1994/95, 2013
St Helens
3 1965/66, 1996, 2006
2 1912/13, 1914/15 (All Four Cups)
Broughton Rangers
1 1901/02
1 1902/03
1 1907/08 (All Four Cups)
1 1927/28 (All Four Cups)
1 1953/54
1 2003

N.B. In the event of a tie, the team that won x amount of 'Doubles' first is given preference.

Head Coaches with multiple Super League titles

Head Coach Wins Winning years
1 Brian Noble 3 2001, 2003, 2005.
2 Ian Millward 2 2000, 2002.
3 Tony Smith 2 2004, 2007.
4 Brian McClennan 2 2008, 2009.
5 Brian McDermott 2 2011, 2012.

Competition rules

Club trained players

The 'club trained player' rule stipulates that each club must have a minimum number of players who are aged under 21 years or are graduates from their own academy system in their 25-man first team squad. Clubs are also required to have a minimum number of UK-trained players (or in the case of the Catalans Dragons, France-trained players) in their squads, and also are limited to a maximum number of "overseas" trained players.

The table below shows how the figures for the ruling from 2008–2011.[21]

club trained players
Year home grown players (min) UK trained players (min) overseas trained players (max)
2008 5 10 10
2009 6 11 8
2010 7 12 6
2011 8 12 5

Dual registration

Clubs in both the First Utility Super League and the Kingstone Press Championships benefit from the new dual registration system which was been introduced for the 2013 season.[22] The new system is intended to complement the existing player loan system.

Dual registration refers to an arrangement between clubs whereby a player continues to be registered to his current First Utility Super League club and is also registered to play for a club in the Kingstone Press Championship. The system is aimed at young Super League players who are thought to be not quite ready to make the step up to ‘week in, week out’ Super League first team duties but for whom first team match experience is likely to be beneficial for their development.

  • Only First Utility Super League players can be dual registered and the receiving club must be a club in the Kingstone Press Championships, meaning that Super League to Super League club dual registrations are not available.
  • A dual registered player will be eligible to play and train with both clubs in a format agreed between the clubs, subject to registration, salary cap and competition eligibility rules.
  • The player is restricted to playing in one fixture per scheduled round of fixtures in any given week and would not be eligible to play for his First Utility Super League club on a Thursday and in a Kingstone Press Championship fixture at the weekend, for example.
  • A receiving club will be limited to a total of five dual registered players per matchday squad.

Salary cap

The Super League operates under a real-time salary cap system that will calculate a club’s salary cap position at the start of and throughout the season:[21]

  • The combined earnings of the top 25 players must not exceed £1.65 million.
  • Clubs will only be allowed to sign a new player if they have room under the cap.
  • Clubs are allowed to spend a maximum of £50,000 on players outside the top 25 earners who have made at least one first grade appearance for the club during the year.
  • Costs for players outside of the top 25 earners who do not make a first team appearance will be unregulated.
  • Any player who has played for the same club for at least 10 consecutive seasons will have half their salary excluded from the salary cap for his 11th and subsequent seasons. This is subject to a maximum of £50,000 for any one club.

Squad announcement system

Before each Super League and Tetley's Challenge Cup fixture, each club must announce the squad of 19 players it will choose from by 2.00pm on the second day before the match day.[21]

Match officials

All Super League matches are governed by the laws set out by the RFL; these laws are enforced by match officials. Former Hull FC player and Huddersfield Head Coach Jon Sharp is the current Head of the Match Officials Department of the RFL. He assumed this role following Stuart Cummings' departure in March 2013 having previously held the role of Match Officials Coach & Technical Director.

Coaching & performance staff

  • Jon Sharp – Head of the Match Officials Department
  • Steve Ganson – Match Officials Coach & Technical Director
  • Ian Smith – Match Officials Coach

Full-time match officials

Name Referee Touch Judge First Super League Game Date Venue
Phil Bentham Wakefield Trinity Wildcats v Hull FC 11 Sep 2005 Belle Vue
James Child Wakefield Trinity Wildcats v Catalans Dragons 15 March 2009 Belle Vue
Robert Hicks Leeds Rhinos v Crusaders RL 20 June 2010 Headingley Carnegie Stadium
Tim Roby Wakefield Trinity Wildcats v Harlequins RL 10 Apr 2011 Belle Vue
Richard Silverwood Halifaxv v Salford City Reds 6 May 2001 The Shay
Ben Thaler London Broncos v Leigh Centurions 29 May 2005 Griffin Park

Full-time touch judges

These touch judge in the First Utility Super League, and occasionally in the Kingstone Press Championship and the Kingstone Press Championship 1.

Cadet match officials

Cadets primarily Referee in the Kingstone Press Championship and the Kingstone Press Championship 1 and Touch Judge in the First Utility Super League. There are opportunities for cadets to Referee in the First Utility Super League when games become available.

Part-time match officials

Part Time Match Officials Referee in the Kingstone Press Championship and the Kingstone Press Championship 1. Some also touch judge in the First Utility Super League.

(*) Denotes match officials who also touch judge in the First Utility Super League.


Super League has been sponsored since its formation apart from the 2013 season.

The title sponsor has been able to determine the league's sponsorship name. There have been six different title sponsors since the league's formation:

As well as title sponsorship, Super League has a number of official partners and suppliers.[23] For the 2014 season these include Alcatel One Touch, Brut, Foxy Bingo, Irn-Bru, Isuzu and Specsavers. The official ball supplier is Rhino Rugby, who have held the contract since the 2013 season when they took over from Steeden.[24]

Media coverage


Sky Sports have been the primary broadcast partner of Super League since its inaugural season in 1996. The current deal lasts until 2021 and covers 80 matches per season, rising to 100 from 2015. They currently have the rights to show live Super League games in both Ireland and the United Kingdom; two live matches are broadcast each week – one on Thursday nights at 7:30pm (kick off 8pm) and another at 7:30pm on Friday nights (kick off 8pm). From 2014, they also simulcast all of Catalans Dragons' home games and from 2015, will broadcast regular Kingstone Press Championship matches.

Regular commentators are Eddie Hemmings and Mike Stephenson with summarisers including Phil Clarke, Barrie McDermott and Terry O'Connor. Live Super League broadcasts regularly rank amongst the top 10 most watched programmes in a week on Sky Sports with in excess of 250,000 viewers.[25] Match highlights are shown on Boots N' All which is shown on Sky Sports and is rebroadcast via the Internet.

BBC Sport broadcast a weekly highlights programme called the Super League Show, usually presented by Tanya Arnold. This is broadcast to the North West, Yorkshire & North Midlands, North East & Cumbria, and East Yorkshire & Lincolnshire regions on BBC 1 on Monday nights (after 11pm) and is repeated nationally on BBC 2 on Tuesday afternoons.[26] A national repeat was first broadcast overnight during the week since February 2008 when the then BBC Director of Sport, Roger Mosey, commented that this move was in response to the growing popularity and awareness of the sport, and the large number of requests from people who want to watch it elsewhere in the UK. The end of season play-off series is shown nationwide in a highlights package. Super League Show is also available for streaming or download using the BBC iPlayer in the UK.

Bein Sports in France shows every Catalans Dragons home match live and also some other matches which are broadcast in the UK live on Sky.

Internationally Super League is shown live on Showtime Sports (Middle East), Sky Sport (New Zealand), NTV+ (Russia), Sportklub (Eastern Europe). In 2009, the Nine Network in Australia will show up to 70 live games.[27] The Super League matches are only broadcast in Queensland, New South Wales, the Australian Capital Territory and the Northern Territory where Rugby League is a popular sport. Previously, FOX Sports in Australia had shown the previous weekend's UK televised matches on Thursday nights.

In New Zealand Māori Television televises one Super League match free-to-air each week.

In the United States, Fox Soccer Plus televises Super League as part of an agreement that began in 2012 and ends in 2014.[28] Previously, America One televised Super League in 2010.[29][30]


BBC Radio 5 Live Sports Extra covers more than 70 Super League games through 5 Live Rugby League each Thursday and Friday night.[31] Each 3 hour programme is presented by Dave Woods with a guest summariser (usually a Super League player or coach) and in addition to live commentary also includes interviews and debate. A 5 Live Rugby League podcast is available to download each week from the BBC website at

Super League is also covered extensively by BBC Local Radio:

The competition is also covered on commercial radio stations:

  • Radio Yorkshire cover two matches per round featuring Yorkshire clubs.
  • BCB 106.6 (Bradford Community Broadcasting) have full match commentary on Bradford Bulls home and away.
  • Wish FM have full match commentary on Wigan Warriors and St Helens matches home and away.
  • Wire FM have full match commentary of Warrington Wolves amatches home and away.
  • Grand Sud FM covers every Catalans Dragons Home Match (in French).
  • Radio France Bleu Roussillon covers every Catalans Dragons Away Match (in French).

All Super League commentaries on any station are available via the particular stations on-line streaming.


ESPN3, formerly ESPN360, has had worldwide broadband rights since 2007 when they broadcast the 2007 Grand Final.

Since 9 April 2009, all of the matches shown on Sky Sports have also been available live online via Livestation everywhere in the world excluding the US, Puerto Rico, UK, Ireland, France, Monaco, Australia and New Zealand.[32] Theses matches are also available online for UK users only through Sky Go and Now TV.

In the United Kingdom, a number of commercial radio stations, along with BBC Radio 5 Live Sports Extra and the local BBC radio stations simulcast commentary of Super League games on the internet. Additionally, the 5 Live Rugby League podcast is available to download each week from the BBC website at

See also



  1. ^ Baker, Andrew (20 August 1995). "100 years of rugby league: From the great divide to the Super era".  
  2. ^ a b BBC Sport (19 May 2005). "Super League set for 2009 changes". BBC. Retrieved 18 July 2008. 
  3. ^ a b RFL. "Licensing". The Rugby Football League. Archived from the original on 2 May 2008. Retrieved 18 July 2008. 
  4. ^ BBC Sport (22 May 2005). "'"Franchise system 'is way forward. BBC. Retrieved 18 July 2008. 
  5. ^ Angela Powers. "Licence to thrill". Sky Sports. Retrieved 18 July 2008. 
  6. ^ Gary Slater (18 June 2008). "Super League to expand to 14". London: Retrieved 18 July 2008. 
  7. ^ Sky Sports (17 June 2008). "Super League set to expand". Sky Sports. Retrieved 18 July 2008. 
  8. ^ BBC Sport (16 July 2008). "Clubs confident over franchises". BBC. Retrieved 18 July 2008. 
  9. ^ Ian Laybourn. "Leigh blast for Super League". Sporting Life. Retrieved 18 August 2008. 
  10. ^ BBC Sport (8 October 2010). "Five clubs in Super League queue". BBC. Retrieved 7 August 2011. 
  11. ^ BBC Sport (3 December 2010). "Widnes, Halifax and Barrow meet Super League deadline". BBC. Retrieved 7 August 2011. 
  12. ^ "Vikings awarded Super League licence". Super League Official. 31 March 2011. Retrieved 7 August 2011. 
  13. ^ "Thirteen Super League licences awarded for 2012 to 2014". RFL. Retrieved 7 August 2011. 
  14. ^ a b c BBC Sport (26 July 2011). "Crusaders withdraw application for Super League place". BBC. Retrieved 7 August 2011. 
  15. ^ Super League to become a 12-team competition from 2015. (11 July 2013). Retrieved on 20 August 2013.
  16. ^
  17. ^
  18. ^
  19. ^ "New top eight play-off format for engage Super League". Super League (Europe). 1 December 2008. Retrieved 1 December 2008. 
  20. ^ "Super League play-offs overhauled". BBC. 30 November 2008. Retrieved 1 December 2008. 
  21. ^ a b c "Competition Structure". The RFL. Archived from the original on 10 February 2010. Retrieved 2010. 
  22. ^
  23. ^
  24. ^
  25. ^ "Triline Sports". Triline Sports. Retrieved 18 June 2007. 
  26. ^
  27. ^ engage Super League (Press Release) (15 November 2008). "CHANNEL NINE TO SHOW ENGLISH SUPER LEAGUE AND CHALLENGE CUP". Retrieved 16 November 2008. 
  29. ^ "Engage Super League expands its horizons in 2010". Retrieved 28 October 2011. 
  30. ^ "America One Television's One World Sports Signs Exclusive Deal for Engage Super League Rugby in 2010". America One. 5 February 2010. Retrieved 29 March 2013. 
  31. ^
  32. ^ List of Super League games available on


  • Caplan, Phil; Doidge, Jonathan R. (2006). Super League – the first ten years. The History Press Ltd.  

External links

  • RFL Super League coverage
  • Scores from Sky Sports
  • Rugby League Fans Forum
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