The Betfred Super League has extended its media rights agreement with pay-television broadcaster Sky Sports for a further two years, taking effect at the end of the current campaign when the ongoing cycle expires.

The UK’s top-flight rugby league competition has enjoyed a lucrative relationship with Sky for almost three decades, when the Super League first struck a deal with the broadcaster in 1995 worth around £87 million over the course of the initial five years.

Under the terms of the latest renewal, welcoming the 28th season of the partnership, Sky will exclusively air 66 live games per season, including the Dacia Magic Weekend, play-offs and the Betfred Super League Grand Final, along with the World Club Challenge. In addition, Sky will have first pick on fixtures from each round – some of which will be made available on its free-to-air platforms.

“We’re delighted to be continuing our rights deal with the Betfred Super League to 2023,” Sky Sports Managing Director Rob Webster noted. “It is testament to the quality of the competition and our coverage that sees our partnership move beyond a quarter of a century.

“The Betfred Super League continues to produce fantastic drama on the pitch and is an essential part of our offering to Sky Sports customers. We look forward to bringing our viewers more magic moments from the competition in the years to come.”

However, the deal represents a drop in value, with the new agreement thought to be worth £25 million per season, down from the existing contract valued at £40 million per year after it was reported in November that the Super League had settled on a cut-price contract.

“It’s great to be able to extend our excellent partnership with Sky Sports,” added Ken Davy, Executive Chairman of the Super League. “Sky have been with us since the start of the competition, back in 1996, and are now an integral part of the Super League family. Together our partnership has seen Super League achieve record viewing figures in recent years.

“We’ve worked closely throughout the current pandemic and every step of the way Sky have been immensely supportive. Together we have managed to give fans an exceptional amount of coverage in these unprecedented times.

“We’re truly grateful for Sky Sports’ comprehensive Super League coverage, capturing so many iconic moments for over 25 years.

“Super League looks forward to working with Sky Sports on the exciting free-to-air opportunity, growing our audience and allowing more fans than ever before to see our great game.”

Sky has enjoyed significant success with the Super League, after the tournament ushered in a record-breaking start to the current season – posting the highest viewership for a regular season match in 15 years between the Catalan Dragons and Hull Kingston Rovers – figures which the broadcaster hopes to build on via the new agreement.