The UK National Lottery is now an official partner of the English Rugby Football League and the Women’s and Girls’ Rugby League. [Image: Shutterstock.com]
A wide-ranging agreement
The English Rugby Football League (RFL) and the Women’s and Girls’ Rugby League have a new official partner in the Camelot-operated UK National Lottery.
The RFL announced the good news via Twitter on Tuesday morning:
The agreement will see National Lottery branding feature during leading league games. Lottery participants will also be in the running to win rugby league-related prizes, including VIP experiences and game tickets. Finally, the lottery body will be title partner for the England Women Rugby League Mid-Season International when the team faces Wales on June 25.
lottery body will be title partner for the England Women Rugby League Mid-Season International
Officials have not revealed the financial terms of the deal, only the source of the funds. The money will come from a National Lottery promotional fund, rather than through Camelot or from the National Lottery Good Causes kitty.
Praise for the partnership
Camelot chief executive Nigel Railton acknowledged the new partnership, saying: “Supporting sports has always been part of the mission of the National Lottery and this inventive partnership will undoubtedly make a difference.” He also noted how the lack of games and spectators due to COVID-19 has put a lot of strain on the RFL.
The majority of the 2020 Women’s Rugby League season did not take place because of the pandemic, which means that most players have not had the chance to participate in rugby league games since the autumn of 2019.
RFL CEO Ralph Rimmer touched on a pre-pandemic growth in female rugby players. He said the number of girls and women playing the sport has risen by 53% since the launch of the Women’s Super League in 2017. Rimmer believes the new National Lottery partnership will help the rugby league to bounce back.
Finally, UK Sports Minister Nigel Huddleston described the partnership as “great news”, adding that the funding will provide a much-needed boost for the sport.
Helping sports during COVID-19
The coronavirus crisis has heavily impacted most sporting organizations, as widespread event cancellations and the absence of fans at high-profile games put significant strains on finances. As a result, the National Lottery has been supporting a number of different sporting entities in the UK, placing particular emphasis on women’s sport.
Just last week, Camelot revealed that it is now an official supporter of Team GB, Great Britain’s Olympic team, and an official partner of ParalympicsGB. Over the course of the pandemic, the National Lottery has also entered commercial deals with non-league soccer organizations, Rugby Union Sevens, and Wheelchair Tennis.
over £150m ($206.7m) worth of funding from the National Lottery has also gone towards grassroots sports
Over £150m ($206.7m) worth of funding from the National Lottery has also gone towards grassroots sports in the region to help it recover from the pandemic.
Other rugby league entities embrace gambling partners
Numerous rugby league teams and organizations around the world have been building relationships with betting operators recently.
On Monday, Australian National Rugby League (NRL) team Penrith Panthers announced a partnership with BlueBet. The two-year agreement will see the betting operator hold the naming rights for the team’s home venue in Penrith, New South Wales. The name change to BlueBet Stadium comes into effect immediately as part of the deal.
UK-based sports wagering operator Betfred announced last December that it was partnering with three English teams at the 2021 Rugby League World Cup. Betfred has also served as the main sponsor for Europe’s Super League competition for a number of years.
In the United States, Major League Rugby (MLR) announced an exclusive betting partnership with Genius Sports Group earlier this month. The deal allows the sports data firm to collect, manage, and distribute game data to sportsbooks across the globe. It will also be able to offer live streaming for non-televized games.