Supriya Ghosh

Super League IX

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Duration  28 Rounds
Broadcast partners  Sky Sports
League Leaders  Leeds Rhinos
Relegated to National League 1  Castleford Tigers
Top point-scorer(s)  Kevin Sinfield (277)
Teams  12
Dates  20 Feb 2004 – 16 Oct 2004
Promoted from National League 1  Leigh Centurions
Location  United Kingdom
Top try-scorer(s)  Lesley Vainikolo (36)
Highest attendance  23,375 Bradford Bulls vs Leeds Rhinos (2 July)
Lowest attendance  2,198 London Broncos vs Salford City Reds (28 March)
Attendance  1,439,706 (average 8,570)

Tetley's Super League IX was the name of the 2004 Super League championship season due to sponsorship by Tetley's Bitter. This was the 110th season of top-level professional rugby league held in Britain, and the ninth championship decided by Super League. The season culminated in the grand final between Leeds Rhinos and Bradford Bulls, which Leeds won, claiming the 2004 title.

Contents

Season summary

During this season Leeds claimed a couple of records, they became the 1st and so far only team to accumulate 50 points from the regular rounds and finished a record 9 points clear of 2nd placed Bradford Bulls, they also became only the 2nd team in the Super League era to finish at home with a 100% record in the regular weekly rounds. Lesley Vainikolo scored more tries than anybody else that season with 37, beating Danny McGuire who finished on 36.

Television

Live Super League IX matches were broadcast in the United Kingdom by Sky Sports in the first year of a new five-year television deal. The contract was signed less than three weeks before the start of the season. The deal, worth £53 million, represented a 15 percent, or £7 million, increase on the last contract. The contract would run until the end of the 2008 season and also cover the international game minus the 2008 World Cup, which is worth £5 million of the total amount. It was speculated in the media that clubs would receive around £700,000-£800,000 per year from the deal - less than the £1 million clubs received in 1995 when British rugby league agreed to switch to a summer season. The clubs had received in initial offer of £55.5 million from Sky, one of two offers rejected; after that offer was declined the amount was reduced with the final figure agreed being settled later after an intervention by Maurice Lindsay. Sky's offer took into account their dissatisfaction with the - BBC requested - proposed move of the Challenge Cup Final to between May and August in 2005, which they believed was too near to the October Grand Final. An RFL spokesman said: "To increase our overall take in a falling market is a major step forward for our game". Vic Wakeling speaking for Sky said: "Our relationship with rugby league is one of the longest in the 12-year history of Sky Sports and we are delighted to be announcing the same again in terms of Super League and international rights.

The BBC secured secondary broadcast rights to show the Super League play-offs and Grand Final nationally with a provision to show match highlights of regular season games. Previously, a deal with the BBC had seen a Sky highlights package shown in the BBC's northern regions.

References

Super League IX Wikipedia


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