McManus: RL’s future is looking rosy

Saints chairman Eamonn McManus has praised the RLF's new sponsorship and TV deal
Saints chairman Eamonn McManus has praised the RLF's new sponsorship and TV deal
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Saints chairman Eamonn McManus has backed Super League’s new TV and sponsorship deal, insisting the future of the sport is in rude health.

McManus has previously been a vocal critic of the RFL’s sluggish approach to securing financial backing but has nothing but praise for recent developments, which include a new sponsor for Super League and a new deal with Sky TV.

“This is a triumph for our sport and in particular for its premier competition - Super League,” said the Saints chairman, who worked as an investment banker in Hong Kong, before returning to his native St Helens .

“It is certainly a total endorsement of the new league structure adopted for 2015 onwards. The new system will improve the competitiveness and quality of competition throughout the season and the new media valuation clearly recognises and reflects that unequivocally.

“At a stroke this ensures solvency for all Super League clubs for the foreseeable future and provides confidence to fans and sponsors in equal measure. They have a lot to look forward to as long as clubs take a disciplined and realistic approach to their cost bases.”

The RFL announced earlier this week Super League had acquired a new sponsor and on Thursday they revealed a significantly improved TV deal, which will see Super League shown on Sky until 2020.

And McManus, who has ploughed huge sums from his own personal fortune into Saints, believes the financial clout Sky offers will reassure other major investors in the sport.

“We at St Helens have invested some £45m in permanent equity investment over the last decade to cover operational deficits and the construction of our fantastic new stadium, Langtree Park, free of debt,” he said.

“It is therefore of great comfort to us that Sky have recognised the value of our sport and consequently the investment of its leading clubs.

“It has been very clear to me over this year that the senior executive of the RFL and of Super League have recognised the need for a new strategic and commercial direction for the benefit of all.

“That process and new focus has now been evidenced very clearly and leaves me confident that our game will continue to be an increasingly attractive proposition to players, spectators, sponsors and investors alike.

“The RFL are to be congratulated on a job very well done. Every level of rugby league and its supporter base will benefit greatly from the great strides forward that are being made.

“We have much indeed to look forward to.”