The Rugby Football League today announces the most exciting schedule yet for live Our League coverage in 2020 – kicking off with the mouthwatering Betfred Championship opening round fixture between Toulouse Olympique and York City Knights at Stade Ernest Wallon on Saturday February 1.
The Toulouse-York game will be the first of 15 Championship fixtures available live to Our League members in the first five months of the season leading up to the Summer Bash in Blackpool at the end of May – eight of them in a Sunday evening slot (615pm kick-off) which has already proved a winner with Rugby League fans.
Knights Chairman Jon Flatman said: “The news announced that the Betfred Championship will be available Free-to-air is a tremendous step forward and a great opportunity for the sport to grow. Week in and week out, this competition provides exciting engaging clashes between quality clubs which will now be available for more fans to see both the U.K. and abroad.
“Combining this additional coverage with the commercial benefits of using the sports own platform, ‘Our League’, is an excellent opportunity to grow and establish the broadcast value of the Championship as we enter into a new broadcast cycle.
“The Toulouse vs York game is a fantastic way to kick off the coverage in 2020 and I hope fans across all clubs will take the opportunity to watch more Rugby League, more often!”
Mark Foster, the RFL’s Chief Commercial Officer, said: “We’ve worked hard through the autumn, especially with our broadcast partners Sky Sports and the Championship and League 1 clubs, to find the best way to build on the progress we made with Our League last season.
“So we’re excited to be able to announce such a comprehensive and attractive package of fixtures for the first five months of the 2020 season from January to May, covering six competitions also including the Betfred Women’s Super League, the Coral Women’s Challenge Cup, the AB Sundecks 1895 Cup and kicking off with the Coral Challenge Cup.
“The Toulouse-York match is a great way to start – the teams who finished second and third behind Toronto Wolfpack last season, who are both confident of challenging for promotion again in 2020, and with the added attraction of Toulouse’s move to the renowned Stade Ernest Wallon.
“That game will be played in Toulouse’s usual Saturday evening slot which makes sense with Sky Sports showing the Betfred Super League double header from Emerald Headingley the following day.
Other games featuring the Knights on Our League throughout the first half of the season will be our Betfred Championship round 6 game against Featherstone on Sunday 22nd March at the LNER Community Stadium, the round 7 game at Oldham on Sunday 29th March and the round 12 game at home to Widnes Vikings.
Five Betfred League 1 fixtures have also been selected for live coverage – including London Skolars’ home match against North Wales Crusaders on Sunday February 29 which will be played at Allianz Park, the home of Saracens RUFC, as the first part of a double-header also including Toronto Wolfpack’s home Betfred Super League fixture against St Helens.
The Skolars game will kick off at 3pm, and for the majority of weekends through the season Our League will cover two live fixtures, with the Sunday evening Championship matches complemented by Sunday lunchtime or afternoon games from either the Championship, League 1, the Betfred Women’s Super League, the Coral Challenge Cups or the AB Sundecks 1895 Cup.
The schedule also includes two fixtures from the second half of the Easter programme in the Championship – Whitehaven versus Leigh on Easter Monday afternoon, and Widnes versus Bradford on the Wednesday night.
As previously announced, Our League’s 2020 coverage will begin with the Coral Challenge Cup Round One tie between the RAF and Bentley ARLFC from Lincolnshire on Sunday January 12.
Foster continued: “Where possible we want fans to know that Sunday night is Our League night, starting the following weekend with Featherstone’s home opener against Halifax, and continuing with a series of attractive Betfred Championship fixtures which underline what a great competition it’s going to be again in 2020.
“Playing the big games on a Sunday evening, we avoid clashes with Sky Sports’ extensive coverage of the Betfred Super League. We think it’s the perfect time for us to show the quality of the Betfred Championship to a wider audience, and we’re grateful to our broadcast partners and to the Championship and League 1 clubs, who will be contributing a small percentage of their central distribution for the 2020 season to allow all this to happen.
“We also saw last season a growing audience for the Our League coverage of the Betfred Women’s Super League and Coral Women’s Challenge Cup, and we’ll be providing further details of that when the BWSL fixtures are announced next weekend.”
OUR LEAGUE LIVE FIXTURES, JANUARY 12 – MAY 31
Saturday February 1 – Toulouse Olympique v York City Knights (5pm GMT)
Sunday February 9 – Featherstone Rovers v Halifax (615pm)
Sunday February 16 – Whitehaven v Oldham (615pm)
Sunday March 1 – Swinton Lions v Leigh Centurions (3pm), Dewsbury Rams v Widnes Vikings (615pm)
Sunday March 8 – Bradford Bulls v Sheffield Eagles (615pm)
Sunday March 22 – York City Knights v Featherstone Rovers (3pm)
Sunday March 29 – Oldham v York City Knights (3pm), Batley Bulldogs v Bradford Bulls (615pm)
Easter Monday (April 13) – Whitehaven v Leigh Centurions (3pm)
Wednesday April 15 – Widnes Vikings v Bradford Bulls (730pm)
Sunday April 19 – Halifax v Widnes Vikings (615pm)
Sunday April 26 – Leigh Centurions v Toulouse Olympique (3pm)
Sunday May 3 – York City Knights v Widnes Vikings (615pm)
Sunday May 17 – Bradford Bulls v Leigh Centurions (615pm)
Betfred League 1
Sunday February 16 – Workington Town v London Skolars (3pm)
Saturday February 29 – London Skolars v North Wales Crusaders (3pm, Allianz Park)
Sunday March 8 – Rochdale Hornets v Keighley Cougars (3pm)
Sunday May 17 – Barrow Raiders v Newcastle Thunder (3pm)
Friday May 22 – Newcastle Thunder v Doncaster (tbc)
Coral Challenge Cup
Sunday January 12 – Round One - RAF v Bentley (130pm)
January 25-26 – Round Two tie tbc
February 8-9 – Round Three tie tbc
February 22-23 – Round Four tie tbc
March 14-15 – Round Five tie tbc
Coral Women’s Challenge Cup
Sunday March 1 – Round One tie tbc
Sunday March 22 – Round Two tie tbc
Sunday April 5 – Round Three tie tbc
Sunday April 26 – Round Four tie tbc
Sunday May 10 – Semi Finals
Betfred Women’s Super League – fixtures to be published Sunday January 12
Sunday March 29 – Opening round fixture tbc
Sunday April 19 – Fixture tbc
Sunday May 3 – Fixture tbc
Sunday May 17 – Fixture tbc
AB Sundecks 1895 Cup
Sunday April 19 – Round One tie tbc
Wednesday April 29 – Round Two tie tbc
Wednesday May 13 – Quarter Final tie tbc
2020 season tickets and memberships are available now. Secure your place in the brand new LNER Community Stadium today by emailing Zillah Ingledew at firstname.lastname@example.org or call 01904 876527 for further details!