Warriors chairman regrets "dreadful" Sky Sports deal

David Prior's picture
by David Prior

Wigan Warriors chairman Ian Lenagan has claimed the Super League's new TV deal is a "dreadful commercial decision".

The Super League last week unveiled a new £200m, five-year deal with Sky Sports, to begin when the current contract expires at the end of 2016.

Ian Lenagan Ian Lenagan

But speaking yesterday on the day the new season was officially launched in Manchester, Lenagan claimed he was "coerced" into voting for the deal with Sky Sports and now regrets his decision.

"It is a dreadful commercial decision to be agreeing with three years to go on the current deal," he said.

"We are now shut out from any increase in the value of broadcasting rights over an eight-year period."

The new deal is an improvement on the current deal, which is worth £127m, but Lenagan believes the league could have secured much more had they not committed themselves up until 2021.

He added: "Super League should have achieved considerably more than that from committing the next eight years, or should have extended for two years only, leaving us then able to renegotiate for 2017-21 in what appears to be an increasingly competitive market in favour of sellers."

Lenagan was also angry that clubs - who were promised an immediate down payment of £300,000 as part of the deal - were only given 24 hours' notice of the meeting to discuss the deal.

"I regret immensely that, under the pressure of time and a stated desire for some unanimity, I voted Wigan in favour of accepting the deal because it was clear that financially challenged clubs would support it," he added.

"I awakened the next day and regretted immensely my voting which - given time to consider properly - would have been strongly against this particular deal.

"I also resent being coerced into taking an immediate position on something that is so vital for the future of the game."

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