Hull KR and Hull FC react to joining Super League elite at start of new grading era
Rovers and cross-city rivals Hull FC are two of seven A-graded clubs in the indicative phase of a new system that will replace automatic promotion and relegation from the end of 2024.
Clubs are assessed across five areas – on-field performance, fandom, finances, stadium and community – and can achieve a maximum score of 20 points.
The Robins have been awarded 15.52, leaving them sixth in the rankings behind only Leeds Rhinos, Wigan Warriors, St Helens, Catalans Dragons and Warrington Wolves.
Should they maintain their Grade A status over the next 12 months, Rovers would be guaranteed a place in Super League with an exemption from relegation.
KR are fresh from a hugely promising season after reaching the Challenge Cup final and finishing fourth in Super League, and are matching those strides off the field.
"We are pleased with our initial grading, which shows the great progress we’ve made over the past couple of years," said Sewell.
"It is welcome recognition of all the hard work happening around the club. From the new board of directors, our partners and sponsors, staff and players to our involvement in the local community.
"Everyone has worked tirelessly behind the scenes to ensure we meet our aspiration of being 'top four' in everything we do – with the leadership of chief executive Paul Lakin being paramount in that effort.
"The grading of course reflects our loyal, passionate and engaged supporter base too. Not only have we seen growth on the terraces but across all of our digital platforms, in terms of reach and engagement.
"Whilst we are pleased with the progress made so far, we recognise there is still much more to do if we are to achieve our ultimate aims and objectives."
Hull are ranked one place below KR in seventh on 15.05 points, leaving them just above the threshold required to be graded A.
The Black and Whites have struggled on the field in recent times – finishing eighth, ninth and 10th in consecutive seasons – but have flourished in other areas to leave the club well placed heading into a new era under the grading system.
Hull chief executive James Clark said: "We are pleased to have earned the status of an A-grade club by IMG.
"This is a reward for the hard work and dedication of everyone involved with the club, and the loyalty and commitment of our unrivalled fanbase and corporate network.
"We have scored highly in areas such as fan engagement and community delivery which are central to our club values, whilst we continue to invest in our facilities and youth pathway.
"We will endeavour to work as hard as we can to better all aspects of the club, to not only maintain our grading but enhance it even further.
“We recognise there are many areas that we can still improve, starting with our on-field performances which Tony Smith, his coaching staff and a new-look squad are determined to deliver."