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C'mon Fox! Give Us Hd Rugby League Like Sky In The Uk

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Thursday 1st February 2007

Sky Sports today confirmed two exciting developments for coverage of Rugby League in Great Britain.

A contract has been signed for exclusive live coverage of the National League for the next two seasons. Starting on 5 April with the match between Widnes and Leigh, Sky Sports will now offer live Thursday night games throughout the season - up to and including the play-offs, and the National League Grand Final on Sunday 7 October.

Plans for high definition [HD] coverage of the new Super League season have also been confirmed. All facilities have been updated in time for Sky's first match - Huddersfield v St. Helens on Sunday 4 February.

This season, for the first time, viewers can follow the battle for promotion to the engage Super League alongside live HD coverage of the game's top tier.

The new deal with the Rugby Football League gives Sky Sports:

* LEAGUE MATCHES - Up to 25 National Rugby League matches each season including a live game every Thursday evening from Thursday 5 April 2007.

* PLAYOFFS - Each of the five National League Playoff matches exclusively live.

* GRAND FINAL - Exclusive live coverage of The National League Grand Final in 2007 and 2008 with the first on Sunday 7

This is the first time National League has enjoyed regular live coverage through the season and popular magazine programme Boots N' All will move to a new slot on Thursday nights to form part of a regular 3-hour rugby league broadcast. The live matches join Super League, international and student matches in Sky Sports' schedules.

Welcoming the deal, The Rugby Football League's Chief Operating Officer Nigel Wood said: "This new broadcast agreement is a tremendous development for the National Leagues. The Sky Sports coverage means that the undoubted excitement and vibrancy of the sport at this level can now be seen by a UK wide audience."

Neville Smith, Executive Producer of Rugby League on Sky Sports, said: "We're delighted we've been able to expand our British Rugby League coverage and look forward to showing the National League on Sky Sports. I have been spending some time with my colleagues on football and cricket, the people who pioneered HD coverage of live sport in the UK and Ireland last year. It has been a tight deadline to get everything ready - and a considerable investment made in new facilities - but Super League will benefit from our experience with other sport and I think fans will love the extra edge HD gives to their sport. In the same way our National League has a good and loyal following, and I think fans everywhere will enjoy our Thursday night coverage."

Rugby League was one of the first live sports on Sky Sports when the channel launched in 1991. Since then Sky has covered over 1,500 live matches, seen the development of the summer game and witnessed rising attendances and audiences. The latest new development for the sport is the introduction of live High Definition broadcasts which allow viewers to experience the unique atmosphere of Super League matches like never before with four times the picture clarity of normal television.

Exclusive live coverage of engage Super League XII on Sky Sports begins with Huddersfield hosting last season's Champions St Helens at The Galpharm stadium on Sunday 4th February.

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