RFL Chief Executive Nigel Wood today set out his ambitions and aims for the forthcoming year at the launch of the 2013 Super League season at the Etihad Stadium in Manchester.
“The key message on sponsorship is that we will only do deals that are right for the sport and as a result of this the commercial revenues generated by the RFL and Super League in 2013 will be at levels never before seen by a sport which is in a very good place as the big kick off approaches this weekend.”
“We have announced Tetley’s as the new sponsors of the Challenge Cup and announced a new Super League partnership with Foxy Bingo, whose parent company also sponsor Manchester United and Real Madrid. World-leading brand Heinz have also signed up as a Super League partner for a second year and will elevate the profile of some of Super League’s biggest stars. “
Nigel Wood's 5 key ambitions for Rugby League’s biggest year since Super League began.
1. England to win the World Cup – if England can lift the World Cup on November 30 at Old Trafford then this would really light the blue touch paper for future development of the game. Nothing succeeds like success and, while rugby league fanatics will never tire of all the great games and contests with local rivals that the season always provides, the international stage has a unique ability to capture the national sporting psyche and there is no greater sporting rivalry than England versus Australia and New Zealand.
2. Closely following an England win would be the staging of the most successful Rugby League World Cup tournament ever. Our ambition is that England and Wales will host a first class event across twenty-one venues, presenting the very best of what the sport has to offer to the widest audience. We have made a good start with tickets on sale and going well, we are welcoming new partner’s like Marriott, who we have just announced, and we have sold the TV rights to IMG and expect an announcement on broadcast partners next month.
3. That 2013 produces another competitive and compelling Super League season, with even more clubs showing positive progress and a growing depth of contenders for honours, culminating in four different teams contesting the two major finals. A World Cup year always brings out the best in players and I fully expect the quality of competition to go up another gear and improve on the excellent standards we have come to expect.
4. The geographic footprint of the new-look Championships is wider than ever before and I hope we will see strong debut seasons for the new clubs, Hemel Stags, Gloucester All Golds and Oxford, who we are welcoming into the Championship One for the first time in 2013. They are great examples of how the game is developing into new areas and we believe all three clubs are now ready for the step-up they are making into the professional structures this season. Expanding the reach of the game is still very much on the agenda but it is being undertaken from a pragmatic and sensible bottom up approach.
5. To see Rugby League build on the success of 2012, the first full year of the new summer calendar, and reach out to more participants, coaches, volunteers, referees and players in 2013. We know that more people played the game in 2012 than ever before and the number of registered Rugby League participants has passed the 100,000 mark. The sport is played in every county in England at one level or another and over 23,000 students competed in the Champion Schools competition across the country, with the Wembley Under 11 winners coming from Leatherhead in Surrey. This is a great base to develop further in 2013.
January 2013 is a great time to be a Rugby League fan.