The Super League
Current season, competition or edition:
Current sports event Super League XXVII
Super League logo 2017.jpg
The competition's 2017–19 logo
SportRugby league
Founded1996; 26 years ago (1996)
No. of teams12
Country England
 France
Most recent
champion(s)
Saintscolours.svg
St Helens
(9th title)
Most titles
Saintscolours.svg
St Helens
(9 titles)
TV partner(s)
Level on pyramid1
Relegation toChampionship
Domestic cup(s)Challenge Cup
International cup(s)World Club Challenge
Official websitesuperleague.co.uk

The Super League (SL), sponsored as the Betfred Super League and officially known as Super League Europe,[1][2] is the top-level of the British rugby league system. At present the league consists of twelve teams, of which ten are from Northern England, reflecting the sport's geographic heartland within the UK, and two from southern France.

The Super League began in 1996, replacing the existing First Division and, significantly, switching from a traditional winter season to a summer season.

Each team plays 27 games between February and September: 11 home games, 11 away games, Magic Weekend and an additional 4 'loop fixtures' decided by league positions. The top six then enter the play-off series leading to the Grand Final which determines the champions. The bottom team is relegated to the Championship.

In a recent tradition, the Super League champions play the National Rugby League champions from Australasia in the World Club Challenge at the start of the following season.

History

See also: List of Super League seasons

1996–2001: Establishment

A "super league" 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 an equivalent northern hemisphere Super League. A £77 million offer[3] and an £87 million payment[4] 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. The 12 founding teams of Super League were:

Initially, several mergers between existing clubs were proposed:

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

However this proposal proved hugely unpopular as it would have meant the end of many historic and viable clubs, and consequently 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 Keighley who had just won the Second Division Championship. London Broncos, who had come fourth in the Second Division, were "fast-tracked" in with the RFL arguing it was an absolute commercial necessity to have a presence in the nation's capital city. A brand new team, Paris Saint-Germain, was created to give the new league a French dimension. Between 1998 and 2000 there was no relegation from the Super League.

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 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

Main article: Super League 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 the traditional promotion and relegation between leagues. The licences were awarded after consideration of more factors than simply the on-the-field performance of a club.[5] 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.[5]

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.[6]

Successful applicants were licensed for three years of Super League competition and[7] three-yearly reviews of Super League membership took place to ensure ambitious clubs lower down the leagues can still be successful.[6]

Points attained by each club's application are translated into licence grades A, B or C. Clubs who achieved an A or B Licence would be automatically awarded a place in the Super League, while those who achieved a C Licence underwent further scrutiny before the RFL decided who made the final cut.[8]

First licensing period

Main article: 2009–11 Super League licences

In June 2008, the RFL confirmed that the Super League would be expanded from 12 teams to 14 in 2009,[9][10] and on 22 July 2008 the RFL confirmed the teams awarded licences.[11] The teams announced were the 12 existing Super League teams along with National League 1 teams, Celtic Crusaders and Salford. Celtic Crusaders becoming the first Welsh team to play in Super League and the only team to be awarded a licence who had never played in the Super League previously.

Featherstone Rovers, Halifax, Leigh and Widnes 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.[12]

Second licensing period

Main article: 2012–14 Super League licences

For the 2012–14 seasons Championship sides Batley, Barrow, Featherstone Rovers, Halifax and Widnes all met the on-field criteria needed to submit an application,[13] but despite this only Barrow, Halifax and Widnes decided to submit an application.[14] On 31 March 2011 Widnes were awarded a Super League licence; Barrow, 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.[15]

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.[16] Crusaders CEO Rod Findlay stated that the club's finances were not in a good enough condition to justify their place in Super League.[17] 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."[17] Wakefield had been favourites to lose their licence before Crusaders' withdrawal.[17]

2015–2018: Super 8s

Main article: Rugby League Super 8s

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.[18]

The 12 First Utility Super League and 12 Kingstone Press Championship clubs played each other home and away over 22 "rounds", plus a Magic Weekend for both divisions, making a 23-game regular season. Following the conclusion of their regular league seasons, the 24 clubs then competed in a play-off series where they split into 3 leagues of 8 based upon league position:[19][20]

Funding for clubs was tiered in both leagues to prevent relegation-related financial difficulties.

In June 2015 8 of the 12 Super League clubs voted to allow a Marquee Player that could exceed a clubs salary cap as long as they can afford their wages. The marquee player rule came into force for the 2016 Super League season.

2019–onwards: Super League split from RFL

On 14 September 2018, an EGM was called to discuss the future of the sport and a change in structure, as the clubs were in favour of scrapping the Super 8s in favour of a more conventional structure.[21] The Super League clubs voted to split from the RFL and appoint their own CEO to have more control over TV and sponsorship money as well as scrapping the Super 8s but retaining promotion and relegation to appease the Championship clubs.[22] After the 2020 season was suspended due to the COVID-19 pandemic in the United Kingdom there were calls made from Super League clubs for the two executive bodies – Super League and the RFL – to re-amalgamate.[23]

As of 14 December 2020, it was decided by unanimous vote that the Leigh Centurions would take the 12th spot in the 26th Super League season, replacing the Toronto Wolfpack who withdrew from the league as a result of financial difficulties caused by the pandemic. This came after the RFL temporarily removed promotion and relegation for the 2020 season in response to the pandemic.[24]

Sky Sports TV deal for the Super League and lower divisions was cut from £40 million to £25 million per year for the 2022 and 2023 seasons.[25]

Structure

Super League regular season

12 teams compete in the Super League. They play each other twice on a home-and-away basis, interrupted by the Magic Weekend round in May. The 12 clubs also play 6 loop fixtures to bring the number of games in a season to 29. The team finishing bottom after 29 rounds collects the Wooden Spoon, and is relegated, while the team finishing first is awarded the League Leaders Shield. The top 5 teams at the end of the season enter the playoffs.

Super League adopted Golden point during regular season for the first time in 2019, bringing it in line with the NRL which had been using the system since 2003.[26]

Magic Weekend

Main article: Magic Weekend

In an attempt to expand out of the traditional rugby league "heartlands", and promote the game to a wider audience, the RFL has staged games in large stadiums in places without an existing rugby league presence. The "Magic Weekend" concept, which involves staging an entire round of Super League matches over a weekend in a single stadium, was first staged in Cardiff in 2007. Dubbed "Millennium Magic", and played in the Millennium Stadium, it proved popular with spectators and 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, Murrayfield, giving rise to the name changing to "Murrayfield Magic". Generally held during the May Day bank holiday weekend, 2011 saw the Magic Weekend return to Cardiff, and was this time held during the weekend 12–13 February 2011 and served as the season's opening week. From 2014 to 2018, the event was held at St James' Park in Newcastle. In 2019, the event was held at Anfield in Liverpool, before returning to Newcastle for the 2020 season.

Play-offs

Main article: Super League play-offs

The play-offs have had various formats. St. Helens are the only team to take part in every play-off series since the inaugural series in 1998.

For 2021 Super League XXVI will use the same six team format used in 2020;[27] comprising three rounds. In round one, the elimination finals, the teams finishing 3rd to 6th play each other with the winners progressing to round two. Round two, the semi-finals, sees the teams finishing 1st and 2nd playing the winners of the two elimination finals. The two winners of the semi-finals meet in the Grand Final.

Grand Final

Main article: Super League Grand Final

Leeds Rhinos celebrating following their 2008 Grand Final victory
Leeds Rhinos celebrating following their 2008 Grand Final victory

The Grand Final is the championship-deciding game and showpiece event of the Super League season. It is held annually at Old Trafford, with the exception of 2020 when it was hosted at KCOM Stadium in Hull in front of no supporters due to the COVID-19 pandemic.

City Stadium Years
England Manchester Old Trafford 1998–2019
England Hull KCOM Stadium 2020
England Manchester Old Trafford 2021–

Largest attendance

Year City Stadium Attendance
2015 England Manchester Old Trafford 73,512

Other competitions

Challenge Cup

Main article: Challenge Cup

The Challenge Cup is a separate cup competition, involving clubs from Super League and all levels of rugby league in Britain. It has been held annually since 1896 and has been expanded to teams in Canada, Serbia, Ireland, Russia, France, Scotland and Wales can take part. The cup runs throughout the season, and the final is usually played on the August bank holiday at Wembley Stadium. Before Super League began in 1996, the final used to take place at Wembley Stadium at the end of April or the start of May, usually 2 weeks after the regular season ended.

Clubs

See also: List of current and former Super League venues

Further information: English rugby league venues

Current clubs

Super League clubs
Colours Club Established City/Town Stadium Capacity* Titles (Last)**
Castleford colours.svg
Castleford Tigersa 1926 Castleford, West Yorkshire Wheldon Road 11,775 0 (N/A)
Catalanscolours.svg
Catalans Dragons 2000 Perpignan, Pyrénées-Orientales Gilbert Brutus Stadium 13,000 0 (N/A)
Giantscolours.svg
Huddersfield Giantsc 1864 Huddersfield, West Yorkshire Kirklees Stadium 24,500 7 (1962)
Hullcolours.svg
Hull FCc 1865 Hull, East Yorkshire Hull City Stadium 25,400 6 (1983)
HKRcolours.svg
Hull Kingston Rovers 1882 Hull, East Yorkshire Craven Park 12,225 5 (1985)
Rhinoscolours.svg
Leeds Rhinosabc 1870 Leeds, West Yorkshire Headingley Stadium 19,700 11 (2017)
Redscolours.svg
Salford Red Devils 1873 Salford, Greater Manchester Salford City Stadium 12,000 6 (1976)
Saintscolours.svg
St Helensabc 1873 St Helens, Merseyside Totally Wicked Stadium 18,000 16 (2021)
ToulouseRLcolours.png
Toulouse Olympique 1937 Toulouse, Haute-Garonne Stade Ernest-Wallon 19,500 0 (N/A)
Wcatscolours.svg
Wakefield Trinityc 1873 Wakefield, West Yorkshire Belle Vue 9,333 2 (1968)
Wolvescolours.svg
Warrington Wolvesabc 1876 Warrington, Cheshire Halliwell Jones Stadium 15,200 3 (1955)
Wigancolours.svg
Wigan Warriorsabc 1872 Wigan, Greater Manchester DW Stadium 25,133 22 (2018)

a: Founding member of the Super League
b: Appeared in every Super League season since 1996
c: One of the original 22 RFL teams

Current Champions

Former Super League clubs

See also: Rugby Football League expansion

Former Super League clubs
Colours Club Seasons in
Super League
First season in
Super League
Last season in
Super League
Last top
division title**
Broncoscolours.png
London Broncos 20 1996 2019 N/A
Bullscolours.svg
Bradford Bulls 19 1996 2014 2005
Widnes colours.svg
Widnes Vikings 11 2002 2018 1989
Faxcolours.svg
Halifax Panthers 8 1996 2003 1985–86
Sheffeagles colours.svg
Sheffield Eagles 4 1996 1999 N/A
Leigh colours.svg
Leigh Centurions 3 2005 2021 1981-1982
Cruscolours.svg
Celtic Crusaders §[a] 3 2009 2011 N/A
Oldhamcolours.svg
Oldham 2 1996 1997 1956–57
France colours.svg
Paris Saint-Germain § 2 1996 1997 N/A
Gthundercolours.svg
Gateshead Thunder § 1 1999 1999 N/A
Workingtoncolours.svg
Workington Town 1 1996 1996 1950–51
New Zealand Kiwis colours.svg
Toronto Wolfpack 1 2020 2020 N/A

All Time Super League table

Current Super League team
§ Club defunct
Pos. Club Seasons P W D L PD Pts
1
Saintscolours.svg
St. Helens
25 663 470 15 178 7,581 953
2
Wigancolours.svg
Wigan
25 664 443 24 197 6,961 904
3
Rhinoscolours.svg
Leeds
25 648 406 17 225 4,815 829
4
Wolvescolours.svg
Warrington
25 657 348 13 296 1,869 709
5
Hullcolours.svg
Hull F.C.
23 621 305 21 295 135 629
6
Bullscolours.svg
Bradford
19 509 308 17 184 3367 617
7
Castleford colours.svg
Castleford
23 609 282 20 307 −1,123 584
8
Giantscolours.svg
Huddersfield
22 584 251 14 319 -1,386 516
9
Wcatscolours.svg
Wakefield
22 589 215 7 367 −3,824 433
10
Broncoscolours.png
London
20 538 195 20 323 -3,718 410
11
Redscolours.svg
Salford
22 566 191 8 367 −4,794 382
12
Catalanscolours.svg
Catalans
15 390 176 11 203 -950 363
13
HKRcolours.svg
Hull KR
13 320 133 10 177 -984 276
14
Widnes colours.svg
Widnes
11 292 97 8 187 −2,483 202
15
Faxcolours.svg
Halifax
8 209 76 4 129 −1262 154
16
Sheffeagles colours.svg
Sheffield
4 97 37 3 57 −636 77
17
Gthundercolours.svg
Gateshead §
1 30 19 1 10 199 39
18
Cruscolours.svg
Crusaders § [a]
3 81 21 0 60 −1032 38
19
Oldhamcolours.svg
Oldham
2 44 13 2 29 −378 28
20
France colours.svg
Paris §
2 44 9 1 34 −607 19
21
Leigh colours.svg
Leigh
2 51 8 1 42 955 17
22
Workingtoncolours.svg
Workington
1 22 2 1 19 −696 5
23
New Zealand Kiwis colours.svg
Toronto
1 Withdrew after 7 rounds

Points deductions

Year Club Points Reason
2001
Wcatscolours.svg
Wakefield Trinity
2 Salary Cap Breach
2003
Faxcolours.svg
Halifax
2 Salary Cap Breach
Hullcolours.svg
Hull F.C.
2 Salary Cap Breach
Saintscolours.svg
St. Helens
2 Salary Cap Breach
2006
Bullscolours.svg
Bradford Bulls
2 Salary Cap Breach
Wigancolours.svg
Wigan Warriors
2 Salary Cap Breach
2007
Bullscolours.svg
Bradford Bulls
2 Salary Cap Breach
Wigancolours.svg
Wigan Warriors
4 Salary Cap Breach
2011
Wcatscolours.svg
Wakefield Trinity
4 Administration
Cruscolours.svg
Crusaders
4 Administration
2012
Bullscolours.svg
Bradford Bulls
6 Administration
2013
Redscolours.svg
Salford Red Devils
2 Fielding Extra Man
2014
Bullscolours.svg
Bradford Bulls
6 Administration
2016
Redscolours.svg
Salford Red Devils
6 Salary Cap Breach

Academies

Reserve league

Main article: RFL Reserve Championship

In 2014 and 2015 Super League clubs were unhappy with the Dual registration system and wanted to form an under-23 reserve leagues between the under-19s and first teams. Wigan, Warrington and St Helens were the first teams to propose the return of the reserve league where players could move from the under 19s and play with professional players before playing in the first team. A reserve league was set up in 2016 with a mixture of Super League, Championship and League 1 teams.

Dual registration

Main article: Rugby League Dual registration

Dual registration refers to an arrangement between clubs whereby a player continues to be registered to his current Super League club and is also registered to play for a club in the 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.[28]

Under 19s

Main article: Super League Under 19s

In 2017 the following teams will run in each of the Senior Academy divisions:[29] Super League Academy – U19s:

Champions

For top flight results before 1996, see Rugby Football League Championship First Division.

For the all-time list of champions since 1895, see List of British rugby league champions.

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. For the first 2 seasons of Super League, there was no Grand Final – The winners of the league were the team that finished top, as before in the previous Championship leagues.

Season Champions Score Runners-up League Leaders
I
Saintscolours.svg
St. Helens
N/A
Wigancolours.svg
Wigan Warriors
Saintscolours.svg
St. Helens[b]
Bullscolours.svg
Bradford Bulls
Broncoscolours.png
London Broncos
Bullscolours.svg
Bradford Bulls[b]
Wigancolours.svg
Wigan Warriors
10–4
Rhinoscolours.svg
Leeds Rhinos
Wigancolours.svg
Wigan Warriors
Saintscolours.svg
St. Helens
8–6
Bullscolours.svg
Bradford Bulls
Bullscolours.svg
Bradford Bulls
V
Saintscolours.svg
St. Helens
29–16
Wigancolours.svg
Wigan Warriors
Wigancolours.svg
Wigan Warriors
Bullscolours.svg
Bradford Bulls
37–6
Wigancolours.svg
Wigan Warriors
Bullscolours.svg
Bradford Bulls
Saintscolours.svg
St. Helens
19–18
Bullscolours.svg
Bradford Bulls
Saintscolours.svg
St. Helens
Bullscolours.svg
Bradford Bulls
25–12
Wigancolours.svg
Wigan Warriors
Bullscolours.svg
Bradford Bulls
Rhinoscolours.svg
Leeds Rhinos
16–8
Bullscolours.svg
Bradford Bulls
Rhinoscolours.svg
Leeds Rhinos
X
Bullscolours.svg
Bradford Bulls
15–6
Rhinoscolours.svg
Leeds Rhinos
Saintscolours.svg
St. Helens
Saintscolours.svg
St. Helens
26–4
Hullcolours.svg
Hull
Saintscolours.svg
St. Helens
Rhinoscolours.svg
Leeds Rhinos
33–6
Saintscolours.svg
St. Helens
Saintscolours.svg
St. Helens
Rhinoscolours.svg
Leeds Rhinos
24–16
Saintscolours.svg
St. Helens
Saintscolours.svg
St. Helens
Rhinoscolours.svg
Leeds Rhinos
18–10
Saintscolours.svg
St. Helens
Rhinoscolours.svg
Leeds Rhinos
Wigancolours.svg
Wigan Warriors
22–10
Saintscolours.svg
St. Helens
Wigancolours.svg
Wigan Warriors
Rhinoscolours.svg
Leeds Rhinos
32–16
Saintscolours.svg
St. Helens
Wolvescolours.svg
Warrington Wolves
Rhinoscolours.svg
Leeds Rhinos
26–18
Wolvescolours.svg
Warrington Wolves
Wigancolours.svg
Wigan Warriors
Wigancolours.svg
Wigan Warriors
30–16
Wolvescolours.svg
Warrington Wolves
Giantscolours.svg
Huddersfield Giants
Saintscolours.svg
St. Helens
14–6
Wigancolours.svg
Wigan Warriors
Saintscolours.svg
St. Helens
Rhinoscolours.svg
Leeds Rhinos
22–20
Wigancolours.svg
Wigan Warriors
Rhinoscolours.svg
Leeds Rhinos
Wigancolours.svg
Wigan Warriors
12–6
Wolvescolours.svg
Warrington Wolves
Wolvescolours.svg
Warrington Wolves
Rhinoscolours.svg
Leeds Rhinos
24–6
Castleford colours.svg
Castleford Tigers
Castleford colours.svg
Castleford Tigers
Wigancolours.svg
Wigan Warriors
12–4
Wolvescolours.svg
Warrington Wolves
Saintscolours.svg
St. Helens
Saintscolours.svg
St. Helens
23–6
Redscolours.svg
Salford Red Devils
Saintscolours.svg
St. Helens
Saintscolours.svg
St. Helens
8–4
Wigancolours.svg
Wigan Warriors
Wigancolours.svg
Wigan Warriors
Saintscolours.svg
St. Helens
12–10
Catalanscolours.svg
Catalans Dragons
Catalanscolours.svg
Catalans Dragons

Results

Club Wins Runners
up
Winning Years
1
Saintscolours.svg
St. Helens
9 5 1996, 1999, 2000, 2002, 2006, 2014, 2019, 2020, 2021
2
Rhinoscolours.svg
Leeds Rhinos
8 2 2004, 2007, 2008, 2009, 2011, 2012, 2015, 2017
3
Wigancolours.svg
Wigan Warriors
5 6 1998, 2010, 2013, 2016, 2018
4
Bullscolours.svg
Bradford Bulls
4 3 1997, 2001, 2003, 2005
5
Wolvescolours.svg
Warrington Wolves
0 4 N/A
6
Castleford colours.svg
Castleford Tigers
0 1 N/A
Catalanscolours.svg
Catalans Dragons
0 1 N/A
Hullcolours.svg
Hull F.C.
0 1 N/A
Broncoscolours.png
London Broncos
0 1 N/A
Redscolours.svg
Salford Red Devils
0 1 N/A

The Double

Main article: The Double (rugby league)

In rugby league, the term 'the Double' refers to the achievement of a club that wins both the top division and the Challenge Cup in the same season. To date, this has been achieved by ten different clubs in total, six of which occasions have been during the Super League era.

Club Wins Winning years
1
Wigancolours.svg
Wigan Warriors
7 1989–90, 1990–91, 1991–92, 1992–93,
1993–94, 1994–95, 2013
2
Saintscolours.svg
St. Helens
4 1965–66, 1996, 2006, 2021
3
Giantscolours.svg
Huddersfield Giants
2 1912–13, 1914–15
4
Barrowcolours.svg
Broughton Rangers
1 1901–02
5
Faxcolours.svg
Halifax
1 1902–03
6
Hunsletcolours.svg
Hunslet F.C. §
1 1907–08
7
Swintoncolours.svg
Swinton Lions
1 1927–28
8
Wolvescolours.svg
Warrington Wolves
1 1953–54
9
Bullscolours.svg
Bradford Bulls
1 2003
10
Rhinoscolours.svg
Leeds Rhinos
1 2015

The Treble

Main article: The Treble (rugby league)

The Treble refers to the team who wins all three domestic honours on offer during the season; Grand Final, League Leaders' Shield and Challenge Cup. To date seven teams have won the treble, only Bradford Bulls, St. Helens and Leeds Rhinos have won the treble in the Super League era.

Club Wins Winning years
1 3 1991–92, 1992–93, 1994–95
2 2 1912–13, 1914–15
3 2 1965–66, 2006
4 1 1907–08
5 1 1927–28
6 1 2003
7 1 2015

The Quadruple

Main article: The Treble (rugby league) § Further Achievement

The Quadruple refers to winning the Super League, League Leaders' Shield, Challenge Cup and World Club Challenge in one season.

Club Wins Winning years
1
Wigancolours.svg
Wigan
1 1994–95
2
Bullscolours.svg
Bradford
1 2003–04
3
Saintscolours.svg
St Helens
1 2006–07

Teams removed

Year Teams Relegated Other Removals
1996
Workingtoncolours.svg
Workington Town
1997
Oldhamcolours.svg
Oldham Bears
France colours.svg
Paris Saint Germain[30]
1998: No relegation[31]
1999 No relegation[32]
Gthundercolours.svg
Gateshead Thunder merged with
Hullcolours.svg
Hull Sharks to form Hull FC
Sheffeagles colours.svg
Sheffield Eagles and
Giantscolours.svg
Huddersfield Giants merged to form Huddersfield-Sheffield Giants
2000: No relegation[33]
2001
Giantscolours.svg
Huddersfield Giants
2002
Redscolours.svg
Salford City Reds
2003
Faxcolours.svg
Halifax
2004
Castleford colours.svg
Castleford Tigers
2005
Widnes colours.svg
Widnes Vikings
Leigh colours.svg
Leigh Centurions
2006
Castleford colours.svg
Castleford Tigers[34]
2007
Redscolours.svg
Salford City Reds
2008–2013: No relegation due to licensing system
Cruscolours.svg
Crusaders RL (2011) [35]
2014
Broncoscolours.png
London Broncos
Bullscolours.svg
Bradford Bulls[36]
2015 None[37]
2016
HKRcolours.svg
Hull Kingston Rovers
2017
Leigh colours.svg
Leigh Centurions
2018
Widnes colours.svg
Widnes Vikings
2019
Broncoscolours.png
London Broncos
2020 None
New Zealand Kiwis colours.svg
Toronto Wolfpack[38]
2021
Leigh colours.svg
Leigh Centurions

Awards

League Leaders' Shield

Main article: League Leaders' Shield

The League Leaders' 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.

Club Wins Winning years
1
Saintscolours.svg
St. Helens
9 1996, 2002, 2005, 2006, 2007, 2008, 2014, 2018, 2019
2
Wigancolours.svg
Wigan Warriors
5 1998, 2000, 2010, 2012, 2020
3
Bullscolours.svg
Bradford Bulls
4 1997, 1999, 2001, 2003
4
Rhinoscolours.svg
Leeds Rhinos
3 2004, 2009, 2015
5
Wolvescolours.svg
Warrington Wolves
2 2011, 2016
6
Giantscolours.svg
Huddersfield Giants
1 2013
7
Castleford colours.svg
Castleford Tigers
1 2017
8
Catalanscolours.svg
Catalans Dragons
1 2021

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 Rugby league football captain are engraved.

The record for most Super League titles won is held by St Helens with nine titles. Leeds captain Kevin Sinfield currently holds the record for captaining the most Super League title winning sides after captaining Leeds to their first 7 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 F.C. in 2006; after which they suffered consecutive defeats against Leeds in 2007, 2008, 2009, Wigan in 2010 and Leeds once again in 2011. However, St. Helens made a victorious return in 2014, defeating rivals, Wigan 14–6 and have since won a further three grand finals, defeating Salford in 2019, Wigan in 2020 and Catalans Dragons in 2021.

Following their 2020 defeat to St. Helens, Wigan have now broken St Helens' record of losing five Grand Finals, losing a total of six. Hull F.C. (2006), Warrington (2012, 2013, 2016, and 2018), Castleford (2017), Salford (2019), and Catalans (2021) have all appeared in the Grand Final but never won.

Steve Prescott Man of Steel award

Main article: 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.

Albert Goldthorpe Medal

Main article: Albert Goldthorpe Medal

The Albert Goldthorpe Medal is an award voted for be members of the press who cast a vote after every game of the regular season. The three players who, in the opinion of the reporter, have been the three 'best and fairest' players in the game will receive three points, two points and one point respectively. To be eligible for a vote, a player must not have been suspended from the competition at any stage during the season.

Super League Dream Team

Main article: Super League Dream Team

Each season a "Dream Team" is also named. The best thirteen players in their respective positions are voted for by members of the sports press. The 2021 dream team is as follows:

Player Team Appearance
1 England Sam Tomkins
Catalanscolours.svg
Catalans Dragons
6
2 Australia Ken Sio
Redscolours.svg
Salford Red Devils
1
3 England Jack Welsby
Saintscolours.svg
St. Helens
1
4 England Mark Percival
Saintscolours.svg
St. Helens
3
5 England Tom Davies
Catalanscolours.svg
Catalans Dragons
1
6 England Jonny Lomax
Saintscolours.svg
St. Helens
3
7 Australia James Maloney
Catalanscolours.svg
Catalans Dragons
1
8 New Zealand Sam Kasiano
Catalanscolours.svg
Catalans Dragons
1
9 England Kruise Leeming
Rhinoscolours.svg
Leeds Rhinos
1
10 England Alex Walmsley
Saintscolours.svg
St. Helens
3
11 Australia Kane Linnett
HKRcolours.svg
Hull Kingston Rovers
1
12 England Liam Farrell
Wigancolours.svg
Wigan Warriors
4
13 Wales Morgan Knowles
Saintscolours.svg
St. Helens
3

Coaches

Nat. Name Club Appointed Time as head coach
England Lee Radford
Castleford colours.svg
Castleford Tigers
16 September 2021 329 days
England Steve McNamara
Catalanscolours.svg
Catalans Dragons
19 June 2017 5 years, 53 days
Wales Ian Watson
Giantscolours.svg
Huddersfield Giants
19 November 2020 1 year, 265 days
Australia Brett Hodgson
Hullcolours.svg
Hull F.C.
25 November 2020 1 year, 259 days
England Danny McGuire*
HKRcolours.svg
Hull Kingston Rovers
4 July 2022 38 days
Australia Rohan Smith
Rhinoscolours.svg
Leeds Rhinos
20 April 2022 113 days
England Paul Rowley
Redscolours.svg
Salford Red Devils
5 November 2021 279 days
Australia Kristian Woolf
Saintscolours.svg
St. Helens
13 October 2019 2 years, 302 days
France Sylvain Houles
ToulouseRLcolours.png
Toulouse Olympique
11 May 2012 10 years, 92 days
New Zealand Willie Poching
Wcatscolours.svg
Wakefield Trinity
10 August 2021 1 year, 1 day
England Daryl Powell
Wolvescolours.svg
Warrington Wolves
25 September 2021 320 days
England Matty Peet
Wigancolours.svg
Wigan Warriors
5 October 2021 310 days

interim *

Head coaches with Super League titles

The Super League has been won by 15 coaches, 10 from Australia, 4 from England and 1 from New Zealand.

Head Coach Wins Winning years
1 England Brian McDermott 4 2011, 2012, 2015, 2017
2 England Brian Noble 3 2001, 2003, 2005
3 England Shaun Wane 3 2013, 2016, 2018
4 Australia Ian Millward 2 2000, 2002
5 Australia Tony Smith 2 2004, 2007
6 New Zealand Brian McClennan 2 2008, 2009
7 Australia Kristian Woolf 2 2020, 2021
8 Australia Shaun McRae 1 1996
9 Australia Matthew Elliott 1 1997
10 Australia John Monie 1 1998
11 England Ellery Hanley 1 1999
12 Australia Daniel Anderson 1 2006
13 Australia Michael Maguire 1 2010
14 Australia Nathan Brown 1 2014
15 Australia Justin Holbrook 1 2019

Coaches to have coached at least 200 Super League games

Statistics correct as of 31 July 2022

Rank Player Club(s) Games
1 Australia Tony Smith Huddersfield (2001, 2003)
Leeds (2004–2007),
Warrington (2009–2017)
Hull KR (2019–2022)
502
2= England Daryl Powell Leeds (2001–2003)
Castleford (2013–2021)
Warrington (2022-)
340
2= England Brian McDermott London (2007–2010)
Leeds (2011–2018)
Toronto (2020)
340
4 England Brian Noble Bradford (2001–2006)
Wigan (2006–2009)
Crusaders (2010)
Salford (2013–2014)
321
5 Australia Shaun McRae St. Helens (1996–1998)
Gateshead (1999)
Hull (2000–2004)
Salford (2007, 2009–2011)
312
6 England John Kear Sheffield (1997–1999),
Huddersfield (2000)
Hull (2005–2006)
Wakefield (2006–2011)
272
7 England Steve McNamara Bradford (2006–2010),
Catalans (2017–present)
251
8 England Richard Agar Hull (2006, 2008–2011),
Wakefield (2012-2014),
Leeds (2019–2022)
236
9 Australia Ian Millward St. Helens (2000–2005)
Wigan (2005–2006)
Castleford (2012–2013)
228
10 England Shaun Wane Wigan (2012–2018) 208
11 England Lee Radford Hull (2014–2020)
Castleford (2022-present)
207

Players

Main article: List of Super League records

Players to have made over 350 Super League Appearances

St Helens captain James Roby holds the record for appearances in Super League with 462 appearances
St Helens captain James Roby holds the record for appearances in Super League with 462 appearances
Rank Player Years Club(s) Appearances
1 England James Roby 2004–present St. Helens 462
2 England Kevin Sinfield 1997–2015 Leeds 454
3 England Andy Lynch 1999–2017 Castleford, Bradford, Hull, Castleford 452
4 England Paul Wellens 1998–2015 St. Helens 439
5 England Jamie Peacock 1998–2015 Bradford, Leeds 438
6 England Leon Pryce 1998–2016 Bradford, St. Helens, Hull, Catalans 432
7 England Ben Westwood 1999–2019 Wakefield, Warrington 430
8 England Rob Burrow 2001–2017 Leeds 429
9 England Danny Tickle 2000–2018 Halifax, Wigan, Hull FC, Widnes,
Castleford, Leigh, Hull KR
419
10 England Keith Senior 1996– 2011 Sheffield, Leeds 413
11 Scotland Lee Gilmour 1997–2014 Wigan, Bradford, St. Helens, Huddersfield,
Castleford, Wakefield
412
12 England Danny McGuire 2001–2019 Leeds, Hull KR 408
13 England Sean O'Loughlin 2002–2020 Wigan 403
14 Wales Lee Briers 1997–2013 St. Helens, Warrington 402
15 England Ireland Louie McCarthy-Scarsbrook 2006–present London, St. Helens 397
16 England Jon Wilkin 2003–2018,
2020
St. Helens, Toronto 385
17 England Paul Deacon 1997–2011 Oldham, Bradford, Wigan 384
18 Wales Keiron Cunningham 1996–2010 St. Helens 382
19 England Danny Orr 1997–2012 Castleford, Wigan, London, Castleford 381
20 England Danny Houghton 2007-present Hull 371
21 England Jamie Jones-Buchanan 1999–2019 Leeds 366
22 England Kevin Brown 2003–2021 Wigan, Huddersfield, Widnes,
Warrington, Salford
361
23 England Jon Clarke 1997–2014 Wigan, London, Warrington, Widnes 360
24 England Stuart Fielden 1998–2013 Bradford, Wigan, Huddersfield 359
25 Scotland Richard Horne 1999–2014 Hull 353
26 England Mickey Higham 2001–2017 St. Helens, Wigan, Warrington, Leigh 352

Tries

Danny McGuire is the highest ever try scorer in Super League with 247
Danny McGuire is the highest ever try scorer in Super League with 247

See also: Super League players with 100 or more tries

Rank Player Years Clubs Tries
1 England Danny McGuire 2001–2019 Leeds, Hull KR 247
2 England Ryan Hall 2007–2018
2021–present
Leeds, Hull KR 223
3 England Josh Charnley 2010-2016,
2018-2022
Hull KR, Wigan,
Warrington
203
4= England Paul Wellens 1998–2015 St. Helens 199
4= England Keith Senior 1996–2011 Sheffield, Leeds 199

Points

See also: List of players with 1,000 Super League points

Rank Player Years Clubs Points
1 England Kevin Sinfield 1997–2015 Leeds 3,443
2 Scotland England Danny Brough 2005–2006,
2008–2020
Hull FC, Wakefield x2,
Huddersfield
2,462
3 England Paul Deacon 1997–2011 Oldham, Bradford, Wigan 2,415
4 England Andy Farrell 1996–2004 Wigan 2,372
5 Ireland Pat Richards 2006–2013, 2016 Wigan, Catalans 2,280

Winning captains

Sean O'Loughlin captained the Wigan Warriors to four Super League Grand Final victories, the second most in Super League history
Sean O'Loughlin captained the Wigan Warriors to four Super League Grand Final victories, the second most in Super League history

11 players have captained teams to win the Super League.

Captain Wins Winning years
1 England Kevin Sinfield 7 2004, 2007, 2008, 2009, 2011, 2012, 2015
2 England Sean O'Loughlin 4 2010, 2013, 2016, 2018
3 England Chris Joynt 3 1999, 2000, 2002
4 New Zealand Robbie Paul 3 1997, 2001, 2003
5 England James Roby 3 2019, 2020, 2021
6 England Bobbie Goulding 1 1996
7 England Andy Farrell 1 1998
8 England Jamie Peacock 1 2005
9 England Sean Long 1 2006
10 England Paul Wellens 1 2014
11 England Danny McGuire 1 2017

Top Try Scorer by season

Year Player Tries Team
1996 England Paul Newlove 28
Saintscolours.svg
St. Helens
1997 New Zealand Nigel Vagana 17
Wolvescolours.svg
Warrington Wolves
1998 Wales Anthony Sullivan 20
Saintscolours.svg
St. Helens
1999 New Zealand Toa Kohe-Love 25
Wolvescolours.svg
Warrington Wolves
2000 England Sean Long & England Tommy Martyn 22 both
Saintscolours.svg
St. Helens
2001 England Kris Radlinski 27
Wigancolours.svg
Wigan Warriors
2002 Australia Dennis Moran 22
Broncoscolours.png
London Broncos
2003 Australia Dennis Moran 24
Broncoscolours.png
London Broncos
2004 New Zealand Lesley Vainikolo 36
Bullscolours.svg
Bradford Bulls
2005 England Mark Calderwood 27
Rhinoscolours.svg
Leeds Rhinos
2006 Australia Justin Murphy 25
Catalanscolours.svg
Catalans Dragons
2007 Samoa Henry Fa'afili 21
Wolvescolours.svg
Warrington Wolves
2008 England Ade Gardner 26
Saintscolours.svg
St. Helens
2009 England Ryan Hall 29
Rhinoscolours.svg
Leeds Rhinos
2010 Ireland Pat Richards 29
Wigancolours.svg
Wigan Warriors
2011 England Ryan Hall & England Sam Tomkins 28
Rhinoscolours.svg
Leeds Rhinos &
Wigancolours.svg
Wigan Warriors
2012 England Josh Charnley 31
Wigancolours.svg
Wigan Warriors
2013 England Josh Charnley 33
Wigancolours.svg
Wigan Warriors
2014 Australia Joel Monaghan 28
Wolvescolours.svg
Warrington Wolves
2015 England Jermaine McGillvary 27
Giantscolours.svg
Huddersfield Giants
2016 New Zealand Denny Solomona 40
Castleford colours.svg
Castleford Tigers
2017 England Greg Eden 38
Castleford colours.svg
Castleford Tigers
2018 Australia Ben Barba 28
Saintscolours.svg
St. Helens
2019 England Tommy Makinson 23
Saintscolours.svg
St. Helens
2020 England Ash Handley 14
Rhinoscolours.svg
Leeds Rhinos
2021 Australia Ken Sio 18
Redscolours.svg
Salford Red Devils

Top Points Scorer by season

Year Player Points Team
1996 England Bobbie Goulding 257
Saintscolours.svg
St. Helens
1997 England Andy Farrell 243
Wigancolours.svg
Wigan Warriors
1998 Wales Iestyn Harris 333
Rhinoscolours.svg
Leeds Rhinos
1999 Wales Iestyn Harris 325
Rhinoscolours.svg
Leeds Rhinos
2000 England Sean Long 352
Saintscolours.svg
St. Helens
2001 England Andy Farrell 388
Wigancolours.svg
Wigan Warriors
2002 England Paul Deacon 301
Bullscolours.svg
Bradford Bulls
2003 England Paul Deacon 286
Bullscolours.svg
Bradford Bulls
2004 England Kevin Sinfield 277
Rhinoscolours.svg
Leeds Rhinos
2005 England Paul Deacon 322
Bullscolours.svg
Bradford Bulls
2006 Australia Jamie Lyon 316
Saintscolours.svg
St. Helens
2007 Ireland Pat Richards 248
Wigancolours.svg
Wigan Warriors
2008 Ireland Pat Richards 269
Wigancolours.svg
Wigan Warriors
2009 Ireland Pat Richards 252
Wigancolours.svg
Wigan Warriors
2010 Ireland Pat Richards 388
Wigancolours.svg
Wigan Warriors
2011 England Jamie Foster 330
Saintscolours.svg
St. Helens
2012 Australia Scott Dureau 281
Catalanscolours.svg
Catalans Dragons
2013 Scotland Danny Brough 208
Giantscolours.svg
Huddersfield Giants
2014 England Marc Sneyd 224
Castleford colours.svg
Castleford Tigers
2015 England Luke Gale 247
Castleford colours.svg
Castleford Tigers
2016 England Luke Gale 262
Castleford colours.svg
Castleford Tigers
2017 England Luke Gale 317
Castleford colours.svg
Castleford Tigers
2018 England Danny Richardson 296
Saintscolours.svg
St. Helens
2019 Scotland Lachlan Coote 259
Saintscolours.svg
St. Helens
2020 Scotland Lachlan Coote 174
Saintscolours.svg
St. Helens
2021 Australia James Maloney 245
Catalanscolours.svg
Catalans Dragons

Sponsorship

Main article: English rugby league sponsorship

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 seven title sponsors since the league's formation:

Period Sponsor Name
1996–1997 Stones Bitter Stones Super League
1998–1999 JJB Sports JJB Super League
2000–2004 Tetley's Bitter Tetley's Super League
2005–2011 Engage Mutual Assurance Engage Super League
2012 Stobart Group Stobart Super League
2013 no sponsor Super League
2014–2016 First Utility First Utility Super League
2017–2023 Betfred Betfred Super League

As well as title sponsorship, Super League has a number of official partners and suppliers.[39] For the 2017 season these include Kingstone Press Cider, Dacia, Foxy Bingo, Batchelors and Specsavers.

The official rugby ball supplier is Steeden.[40]

Competition rules

Overseas quota and Federation-trained players

An overseas quota restricting the maximum number of foreign players at each club has existed since the inception of the Super League in 1996.[41] However, overseas players that hold a European Union passport or come under the Kolpak ruling do not count towards the quota. This resulted in the number of non-British players at some clubs greatly exceeding the quota.

In response to concerns over the growing number of foreign players in the league, in 2007, the RFL announced plans to introduce a "homegrown player" rule to encourage clubs to develop their own players.[42] As of 2017, Super League clubs are permitted to register no more than five overseas players. Additionally, squads are also limited to a maximum of seven non-Federation trained players.[43]

Salary cap

A salary cap was first introduced to the Super League in 1998, with clubs being allowed to spend up to 50 percent of their income on player wages. From the 2002 season onwards, the cap became a fixed ceiling of £1.8 million in order to increase parity within the league.[44]

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:[45]

In 2017, Super League clubs approved proposals to increase the salary cap over the next three seasons, eventually rising to £2.1 million by 2020. Clubs will also be allowed to sign a second marquee player.[46]

Squad announcement system

Before each Super League fixture, each club must announce the squad of 19 players it will choose from by 2:00 pm on the second day before the match day.[45]

Match officials

Main article: RFL Match officials

All Super League matches are governed by the laws set out by the RFL; these laws are enforced by match officials. Former Super League and International Referee Steve Ganson is the current Head of Match Officials and Technical Director. Former Hull F.C. player and Huddersfield Head Coach Jon Sharp was the previous Head of Match Officials. Sharp was sacked in July 2015 and took up the role of Head Coach at Featherstone Rovers. He assumed his role at the RFL following Stuart Cummings' departure in March 2013 having previously held the role of Match Officials Coach & Technical Director.

Criticism

Big Four dominance

Key

  Grand Final Champions   Grand Final Runners-up

Results of the 'Big Four' during 1996–2009
Season
Bullscolours.svg
Bradford Bulls
Rhinoscolours.svg
Leeds Rhinos
Saintscolours.svg
St. Helens
Wigancolours.svg
Wigan Warriors
1996 3 10 1 2
1997 1 5 3 4
1998 5 2 4 1
1999 1 3 2 4
2000 3 4 2 1
2001 1 5 4 2
2002 2 4 1 3
2003 1 2 4 3
2004 2 1 5 4
2005 3 2 1 7
2006 4 3 1 8
2007 3 2 1 6
2008 5 2 1 4
2009 9 1 2 6
Titles 4 4 5 1
Results of the 'Big Four' since 2010
Season
Rhinoscolours.svg
Leeds Rhinos
Saintscolours.svg
St. Helens
Wigancolours.svg
Wigan Warriors
Wolvescolours.svg
Warrington Wolves
2010 4 2 1 3
2011 5 3 2 1
2012 5 3 1 2
2013 3 5 4 2
2014 6 1 2 5
2015 1 2 3 6
2016 9 4 3 2
2017 2 4 6 9
2018 10 1 2 4
2019 8 1 2 4
2020 5 2 1 3
Titles 4 3 4 0

Since its formation in 1996 only four teams have won the Super League (Bradford Bulls, Leeds Rhinos, St. Helens and Wigan Warriors). Also, only nine teams have taken part in the Grand Final (Hull FC, Castleford Tigers, Warrington Wolves, Salford Red Devils, and Catalans Dragons being the other five). Eight teams have been the league leaders, however only one of these (Huddersfield Giants) in 2013, is a different team to those that have appeared in the grand final, meaning that only nine different teams in total have been involved in the grand final or topped the regular season table, however, 23 teams have taken part in Super League since its inception. The last grand final to feature two sides other than Wigan, Leeds, St Helens or Bradford occurred in 1991 when Hull F.C. defeated Widnes 14–4.[47] This had led to the criticism that Super League is effectively uncompetitive, by perpetuating success in the hands of a small number of wealthy clubs.

In comparison, during the same period, 12 different teams have won the Australasian National Rugby League competition and 15 different teams have appeared in the Grand Final.

Licensing

Between 2009 and 2014 teams had to apply for a licence to play in Super League, which was partly awarded based on a club's financial viability; this also meant there was no longer automatic promotion from the Championship into Super League. This was highly unpopular with Championship clubs, because there was no way for them to win promotion to the higher level based purely on sporting success. Consequently, the Super League came to be seen as a closed shop for its existing members, with entry based primarily on financial capability.

Attendances in the lower divisions dropped as a result of this system, because it was felt that there was little appeal in these leagues when there was no incentive for the clubs to win the Championship. Additionally, the only time that lower division clubs got the chance to play illustrious Super League opposition was in the early rounds of the Challenge Cup. With no simple route in to the Super League, teams were further unable to compete with top division opposition because there was no way those clubs could attract good quality talent when they could not offer young players the prospect of playing at the highest level.

M62 Corridor

See also: Rugby league in Yorkshire and Rugby league in Lancashire

Most of the teams that have competed in Super League have been in the traditional English rugby league heartlands of the so-called 'M62 Corridor' between Yorkshire and Lancashire. Catalans Dragons and Toulouse Olympique are the only teams currently playing in Super League who play outside this area. Since their arrival in 2006, The Dragons have enjoyed a sustainable and competitive period in Super League which has seen them become the first non-English team to win the Challenge Cup in 2018, the League Leaders Shield in 2021, and reach the Super League Grand Final, also in 2021. Toulouse gained promotion to Super League for the 2022 season, after a victory over Featherstone Rovers on 10 October 2021 in the Million Pound Game, becoming the third French team to play in Super League and the fourth non-British team to play in the competition.

Expansion of the sport was a key policy of the Rugby Football League when Super League was created, and has consistently been considered important for the future well-being of rugby league. However, with the exception of the Catalans Dragons and the comparative long-term stability of the London Broncos, expansion clubs have not generally proved viable at the highest level. Paris Saint-Germain RL competed from the beginning of the competition but disbanded after just two seasons due to a lack of interest and investment, Gateshead Thunder had poor attendance figures and were merged with Hull after only one year in 1999, despite a strong season that saw them narrowly miss the playoffs, Celtic Crusaders joined Super League in 2009 while in Bridgend, South Wales before moving close to the M62 corridor to Wrexham, North Wales in 2010 and renamed as Crusaders RL. They reached the playoffs in 2010, but struggled on and off the pitch in 2011 before withdrawing their application for a 2012-14 licence at the 11th hour and folding at the end of the season, only lasting 3 seasons in Super League. In addition, Toronto Wolfpack lasted less than a full season in Super League, their financial problems exacerbated by international travel restrictions during the COVID-19 pandemic of 2020 as they pulled out before the resumption of the 2020 season in August 2020 before being expelled from the competition later that year.

Media coverage

Television

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 7:30 pm (kick off 8 pm) and another at 7:30 pm on Friday nights (kick off 8 pm). From 2014, they also simulcast all of Catalans Dragons' home games.

Duration Broadcasters
1996–2021 Sky Sports
2022–2023 Channel 4

Detailed Sky coverage

Channel 4 Coverage

Starting in February 2022, live matches will be broadcast on Channel 4. This will be the first time in the history of Super League that live matches have been shown on free-to-air television, and also the first time that live games have been shown on a broadcaster other than Sky Sports. The initial two-year partnership will see ten live Betfred Super League matches air on Channel 4 each season. Channel 4’s Super League coverage starts on 12 February next year when eight-time Champions Leeds Rhinos host Warrington Wolves. The remaining nine games will be spread across the season and will include two end of season play off fixtures.[48]

Highlights

In addition to Sky Sports' live coverage, 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 11 pm) and is repeated nationally on BBC 2 on Tuesday afternoons.[49] 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. The Super League Show is also available for streaming or download using the BBC iPlayer in the UK.

Highlights programme Duration Broadcaster
Super League Show 1999–Present BBC

International

Internationally, Super League is shown live by eight broadcasters in eight countries and regions.

Country/ Region Broadcaster
Middle East OSN (no longer available)
North Africa
 France beIN Sports[50]
Sport en France[51]
 New Zealand Sky Sport
Māori Television
 United States Fox Soccer Plus
 Canada Sportsnet World
 Brazil BandSports (no longer available)
 Russia NTV+ (no longer available)
Balkans Sportklub (no longer available)
 Australia Fox League

Radio

Talksport is an official broadcaster of Super League, broadcasting commentaries and magazine programming on Talksport 2. BBC Radio 5 Live Sports Extra covers more than 70 Super League games through 5 Live Rugby League each Thursday and Friday night.[52] 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 http://www.bbc.co.uk/programmes/p02nrtxd/episodes/downloads.

Super League is also covered extensively by BBC Local Radio:

Station Area
BBC Radio Humberside Hull
BBC Radio Leeds West Yorkshire
BBC Radio Manchester Salford, Wigan and Warrington.
BBC Radio Merseyside St Helens, Warrington and Widnes.

The competition is also covered on commercial radio stations:

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

Internet

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.[53] In 2016 Livestation shut down, however these 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 http://www.bbc.co.uk/programmes/p02nrtxd/episodes/downloads.

See also

Notes

  1. ^ a b Active as North Wales Crusaders
  2. ^ a b Championship by definition were league leaders for 1996 and 1997.

References

Inline

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