Excitement mounts for new Co-operative Championships season

Date published: Sunday, March 4, 2012

The most competitive Co-operative Championships season of all time kicks off next weekend when sports fans can expect to see more Rugby League action of the highest quality over the coming months.

Defending champions Featherstone Rovers will start as favourites to retain their Championship crown but Daryl Powell’s side know they can take nothing for granted in a division which is expected to prove more competitive than ever before.

The title race in Championship One also promises to be equally cut-throat, especially with four clubs guaranteed promotion at the end of the year to take their place in a new-look competition which will welcome four new clubs in 2013.

Before then, the 2012 campaign promises to deliver more weekly instalments of thrilling entertainment and with a new principle broadcast partner in the form of Premier Sports, a new North Wales Crusaders side competing in Championship One and a new top-six Championship One finals structure all in place, the forthcoming season is sure to live up all expectations.

Speaking at the official season launch in Manchester  RFL Chief Operating Officer Ralph Rimmer said: “This is an exciting time for Rugby League at Co-operative Championships level and the whole sport is looking forward to this season and also what lies ahead.

“With a new television broadcaster, a new team and a new play-off format all making their debut in 2012, this season is the beginning of a period of transformation which will conclude with the introduction of positive structural changes in 2013.

“Every club will be working extremely hard in 2012 to play their part in one of the most significant changes to the game since 1996 and I feel certain this season will be one of the most keenly contested in recent years, with every team in the Championship strengthening in the off-season and every team in Championship One in with a chance of promotion.

“We’re also delighted to see Premier Sports come on board as the Championships broadcast partner and look forward to seeing them showcase the very best Championship action as the drama unfolds throughout the season.”

Premier Sports will be adding their own unique touch to Championships Rugby League broadcasting with the introduction of live video referee in-call commentary, which will bring fans closer to the decision making process and give viewers an insight into how and why crucial video referee calls are made.

“The RFL match officials have worked closely with our production team to help enable us to bring this latest innovation to the sport,” said the Head of Operations at Premier Sport, Richard Webb.

“We hope that Rugby League fans who have always been passionate and knowledgeable about their sport will enjoy the extra clarity this will bring to the decision-making process of the match officials and enhance the viewing spectacle.”

The Co-operative Championships season kicks off on Thursday, March 8 when Premier Sports begin their coverage of the competition with Leigh Centurions v Batley Bulldogs at Leigh Sports Village. To celebrate the launch of the Championships season, Premier are offering Rugby League fans the chance to purchase a 12-month season ticket to Premier Sports, Sky Channel 433, for just £79.99.

Not only can Rugby League fans save £21 off the standard sale price, but £10 from every season ticket will be given back to the subscriber’s club of choice.

To take advantage of this offer fans can subscribe on-line at www.premiersports.tv or via phone by calling 0871 663 9000 before March 31 2012 and will be given the option to select which Championship club they want the £10 to go to.