WITH rugby league fans desperate to watch Challenge Cup and Championship action after a year-long shut-down, Oldham supporters are in for an online treat.
The RFL has confirmed that Roughyeds' first-round Betfred Challenge Cup tie against League 1 side Barrow Raiders will now be played on Saturday, March 20 (12.45pm kick-off) and streamed live on Our League.
Two weeks later, on Good Friday, April 2, Roughyeds will clash with derby rivals Swinton Lions at Bower Fold (5.15pm) on the opening day of the new Betfred Championship campaign,
Both games will be streamed live on Our League, free to home season-ticket holders.
Other fans can take advantage of an Early Bird £4.95-per-game offer, compared with £10 if they pay on the day. Also available, for fans who wish to watch all, or most of the games are Day passes for £15 and Weekend passes for £20.
Oldham, like all clubs, will be relying on big viewing figures, given that behind-closed-doors rugby brings considerable extra costs – with no income through the turnstiles — at a time when they have had no games for a year with little or no income.
Moreover, clubs have to underwrite all broadcasting costs. They take 90 per cent of any profit, but it is still regarded as essential to their financial well-being that the online initiative proves popular with supporters.
It all kicks off on Friday, March 19 with the first round of the Betfred Challenge Cup, Sheffield Eagles v York (7.45pm), played at the Keepmoat Stadium in Doncaster with coverage still to be confirmed.
On the following day, Super Saturday, Oldham v Barrow Raiders (12.45pm) kicks off four back-to-back ties.
All games played behind closed doors in the first round of the Betfred Challenge Cup and the opening round of the Betfred Championship will be available to watch either through Betfred or the BBC or through the RFL’s Our League web or app.
Season-ticket holders will receive access codes, direct from the club, ahead of the first fixture.
Betfred Challenge Cup (first round): Friday, March 19, Sheffield Eagles v York City Knights (7.45pm), coverage to be confirmed.
Saturday, March 20, Oldham v Barrow Raiders (12.45pm); London Broncos v Keighley Cougars (3pm); Whitehaven v Dewsbury Rams (5.15pm); Halifax Panthers v Batley Bulldogs (7.30pm); all matches live on Our League.
Sunday, March 21, West Wales Raiders v Widnes Vikings (12.45pm), Featherstone Rovers v Batley Bulldogs (3pm);, both streamed live on BBC; Swinton Lions v Newcastle Thunder (5.15pm), both on Our League.
Betfred Championship (round one): Good Friday, April 2, Oldham v Swinton Lions (5.15pm), Featherstone Rovers v Batley Bulldogs (7.30pm).
Easter Saturday , April 3, York City Knights v London Olympique (5.15pm); Dewsbury Rams v Whitehaven (7.30pm);
Easter Sunday, April 4, Sheffield Eagles v Batley Bulldogs (12.45pm); Halifax Panthers v London Broncos (3pm); Newcastle Thunder v Widnes Vikings (5.15pm), all seven matches on Our League.
Details for the Challenge Cup second-round ties, on the weekend of March 27 and 28, will obviously be announced later.
Here’s a link to FAQs regarding Our League, membership and access to coverage of games.