Sky Sports will televise all five matches from this autumn’s Betfred Championship Play-offs – including the Million Pound Game on Sunday October 10 which will determine promotion to the 2022 Betfred Super League.
And there will be even more live action on offer to Rugby League fans as the Betfred League 1 promotion play-off series will be streamed exclusively on the RFL’s Our League platform, starting on the weekend of September 18/19.
The Championship Play-offs have been expanded to six teams in 2021, following the format successfully reintroduced to the Betfred Super League last year. They will kick off on Saturday September 25 with a double header of elimination fixtures between the teams finishing third to sixth in the Betfred Championship table.
The winners of those games will then travel to the teams finishing first and second the following Saturday (October 2) in two sudden death semi-finals.
Then, on the evening of Sunday October 10 – 24 hours after the Betfred Super League Grand Final at Old Trafford – Sky Sports will again capture all the drama and emotion as the remaining two contenders battle it out for the ultimate prize of promotion to join the elite in 2022.
Mark Foster, the RFL’s Chief Commercial Officer, said: “It’s fantastic news for Rugby League fans and our Betfred Championship clubs that Sky will be showing all five matches in this year’s Play-offs.
“The return of the Betfred Championship and League 1 has been one of the success stories of 2021 for the sport after the loss of the 2020 season because of Covid-19, with superb entertainment every week on Our League and now for spectators at the grounds.
“The intensity levels are bound to rise as the leading English Championship clubs aim to challenge the current pacesetters Toulouse Olympique for a place in the Betfred Super League in 2022 – and that should mean some great contests on Sky building up to the drama of the Million Pound Game.
“The Betfred League 1 promotion battle is also building to a fascinating climax with the league leaders to go up automatically to the Betfred Championship in 2022, leaving the next five clubs to contest the second promotion spot through the Play-offs – and it’s great that we can capture all the excitement and drama of that series on Our League.”
Clubs agreed prior to the season commencing to contest the Betfred Championship and League 1 on a ‘points percentage’ basis due to the threat of postponements and cancellations presented by the ongoing coronavirus pandemic. Points percentage is calculated by the number of matches won by a club, divided by the number of matches played, multiplied by 50.
Clubs are required to have played in 70% of their scheduled fixtures to be eligible for the play-offs, although any Toulouse Olympique matches postponed as a result of current quarantine regulations do not count as cancelled for either Toulouse or their opponents.
Betfred League 1 Promotion Play-offs – All games live on Our League*
Elimination play-off: 5th v 6th
Qualifying play-off: 3rd v 4th
Elimination semi-final: Loser of 3rd v 4th versus winner of 5th v 6th
Qualifying semi-final: 2nd versus winner of 3rd v 4th – winners go straight to grand final
Preliminary Final: Loser of qualifying semi-final versus winner of elimination semi
October 10 (TBC) – Promotion Play-off Final
*Play-off fixtures dates to be confirmed in the coming weeks.
By Joshua Chapman