Super League 2022: Chairman and Huddersfield Giants owner Ken Davy echoes genuine excitement for new campaign

IT IS an oft-used platitude from Super League executives that the latest season is going to be the most exciting in some time.

Yet, when the competition’s current interim chairman Ken Davy says it on the eve of the 2022 Betfred Super League campaign, for once, it is hard not to concur.

Perhaps it is simply because the last couple of seasons have been dogged by the pandemic but, that aside, there is still a genuine sense that rugby league could be set for a much-needed watershed moment.

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Channel 4 showing Super League live on free-to-air terrestrial television for the first time this Saturday certainly has potential to catapult the sport into the minds of a whole new audience.

The chance to witness some of rugby league’s greatest talent being exposed in such a way – 10 games will be shown live this season and next, aside from long-term broadcaster Sky Sports – is undoubtedly invigorating.

Speaking to The Yorkshire Post, Davy said: “There is such excitement about the new season.

“I sense there’s more excitement about the start of this season than we’ve seen for many a year. And that has got to be encouraging. That then feeds on to attracting new people to the game – new spectators, fans, children – which starts a virtuous circle which we can all build on.

“I always hoped at some stage we’d be on free-to-air terrestrial TV and who’s to say when it might happen.

NEW ERA: Opening Channel 4 game preview launch sees presenter Adam Hills, flanked by Leeds Rhinos' coach Richard Agar - left - and Warrington Wolves' Daryl Powell Picture by Simon Wilkinson/SWpix.com

“But Channel 4 moving their headquarters to Leeds, and being in the heartland of rugby league, gives us that opportunity. And they’ve seen that same opportunity.

“I think it will enable them to put their stamp on Betfred Super League without in any sense compromising our relationship with Sky. The more eyeballs we get watching rugby league, the more customers Sky will have so it’s win/win.”

Clearly, the sport has been affected by Covid but – as discussions continue regarding a realignment with the Rugby Football League – Davy maintains there can be growth.

“There is the old saying about what doesn’t kill you makes you stronger,” he said.

Huddersfield Giants' owner and interim Super League chairman Ken Davy Picture by Simon Wilkinson/SWpix.com

“I feel we are emerging stronger from the challenges.

“The challenges have affected every sport, family and person in the country. The real thing for me is to see the strength and unity of purpose that there is behind rugby league now and Super League, in particular.”

Champions St Helens get matters underway tonight when they host last season’s League Leaders’ Shield winners Catalans Dragons, who they ultimately defeated at Old Trafford.

That, of course, is on Sky Sports, with whom Super League’s reduced broadcast deal expires at the end of 2023.

St Helens are strong favourites to lift a fourth straight Super League Grand Final title. Picture: Zac Goodwin/PA

Davy, the Huddersfield Giants owner who has led Super League since last March, added: “It’s common knowledge our deal with Sky is not as good this next couple of years as it has been previously.

“But we are all very optimistic that the work that is going into ‘22 and ‘23 will enable us to build on the strong relationship we already have got with them.”