Ralph Rimmer, the chief executive of the Rugby Football League, today congratulates the Betfred Championship clubs for another successful Summer Bash which has formed part of a memorable weekend for the game.
An attendance of 7,912 on the first day of the weekend at Bloomfield Road in Blackpool represented a slight increase on the 2018 Saturday figure, and ticket sales for day two already guarantee a total attendance well in excess of the 11,805 aggregate for last year.
“The weekend has the feel of a real celebration of the game, and it’s important for us to acknowledge the part the Betfred Championship Summer Bash has played in that,” said Rimmer.
“We all saw the pictures yesterday from Barcelona, where Catalans Dragons attracted a record Super League crowd for their game against Wigan.
“That was a magnificent example of the flagship competition pushing out to new audiences, and closer to home the Summer Bash has again illustrated what the Betfred Championship has to offer.
“The live coverage provided by Sky Sports of all seven games gives the clubs invaluable exposure, on the back of the coverage already being provided of Toronto Wolfpack’s fixtures this season – and setting the scene for further coverage of the top five play-offs leading to the Million Pound Game in the autumn.
“We’re working harder than ever at the RFL with the Betfred Championship and League One clubs, and it’s those clubs who have driven the increase in attendances this year with their marketing and social media work.
“We’ve already received a lot of positive feedback about the first day, both in terms of the enjoyable experience off the field and the quality of the rugby on it, with Swinton’s stirring fightback against Rochdale, impressive wins for Featherstone and Toronto, and Halifax winning a rousing derby against Bradford to finish things off – not forgetting an excellent Origin Academy match between Lancashire and Yorkshire at the start of the day.
“Ticket sales for the Sunday are well up on previous years, so we’re well set to beat last year’s aggregate attendance by a distance, adding to the feelgood factor around the Betfred Championship at the moment.”
The Sunday programme at the Bash will kick off this morning with the first Women’s Origin match of the season between Lancashire and Yorkshire, streamed live through the RFL’s Our League platforms (mobile, web and app) and also Twitch – and will also include a number of presentations.
Players from the Furness Raiders, who were recently crowned National Association of Colleges Rugby League champions, will be introduced during the game between their local Betfred Championship club Barrow Raiders and the Sheffield Eagles.
Representatives of four of the early recipients of small awards from the CreatedBy Capital Grants Programme directed by the RFL on behalf of Rugby League World Cup 2021 – Cardinal Newman Catholic High School in Warrington, Drighlington Amateur Rugby League Club in Leeds, Bank Quay Bulls ARLFC from Warrington and the University of Leeds Women’s Rugby League – will be presented to the crowd, and to RLWC2021 chief executive Jon Dutton.
And a group of former players from the old Blackpool Borough club will also be attending, including Tommy Dickens, Tommy Frodsham and the former Great Britain prop Hugh Waddell.
Betfred Championship Summer Bash, fixtures, day two 1045am – Women’s Origin, Lancashire v Yorkshire 1pm – Barrow Raiders v Sheffield Eagles 315pm – Dewsbury Rams v Batley Bulldogs 530pm – Leigh Centurions v Widnes Vikings