The competition has been on Sky Sports since its inception in 1996
Channel 4 is to broadcast ten live Super League matches-a-year, including two end-of-year playoff games.
This the first time that the competition has gone free-to-air in its 26-year history, having been on Sky Sports throughout. Its most recent deal with Sky Sports, for the 2022 and 2023 seasons, saw its TV revenue reportedly drop from £40 million to £25-30 million and had a provision for Sky to make some games available to free-to-air broadcasters.
Channel 4 has taken advantage of this clause, and its coverage will begin on 12 February, with Leeds Rhinos hosting Warrington Wolves. The remaining nine games will be spread throughout the season, including the two playoff clashes.
The Super League already has some free-to-air exposure, with highlights available through the BBC.
Channel 4 head of sport Pete Andrews said: “We’re absolutely thrilled to be bringing Super League to free-to-air television for the first time in its history.
“It’s fantastic news for rugby fans and it’s a really special addition to Channel 4’s sports portfolio particularly since it’s one of our first major partnerships since moving to our new National HQ building at the Majestic in Leeds.”
Ken Davy, Super League chairman, added: “We are delighted to be able to confirm a brand-new broadcast partnership with Channel 4. They have a great track record of showing some of the best sporting competitions.
“The opportunity to offer live Betfred Super League action to fans on a free-to-air platform across the whole season is fantastic and one that we hope will continue to serve our current fans, as well as attract many new fans to the sport.
“I must thank our principal broadcast partner, Sky Sports, without whose support this partnership would not have been possible.”