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Foxtel confirms date for Fox League channel launch

SportKevin Perry

image source - Fox Sports

Foxtel has confirmed it will launch its new dedicated 24/7 NRL channel this month.

Fox League will commence broadcasting on Monday the 20th of February, during its first week on air the channel will feature classic rugby league matches from the archives.

Live programming on the channel will commence on Monday the 27th of February when Fox's NRL panel programs return including NRL360, Sterlo, and Matty Johns.

The new channel will broadcast every Premiership game before the Grand Final live, with no ad breaks during play and in HD.

The launch comes ahead of the official season on Thursday, March 2, when the Sharks clash with Brisbane at the Southern Cross Group Stadium.

Immediately after Thursday night games this season, Fox League will air Late Night with Matty Johns. The show will compete in the same timeslot as The Footy Show on Nine.

Fox League will then have exclusive broadcast rights for the early 6pm Friday night game when the Bulldogs take on the Storm at Belmore Stadium, followed by simulcast rights for the Rabbitohs v Wests Tigers clash at 8:05pm

"Fans will be able to see two games live on Fridays and, while the early game may present some challenges in terms of attendances, we think it will be a big hit," said NRL CEO Todd Greenberg.
"Certainly this is a much more family friendly time than the late-night Friday game that we had a couple of years ago."

Other games in Round One include the Cowboys v Raiders, Sea Eagles v Eels and the Rabbitohs v Tigers which will see Robbie Farah take on his former club.

The launch of Fox League comes as Foxtel customers are being asked for an additional $4 per month to access the Sport Package, a spokesperson for the company telling DeciderTV the price increase was necessary,

“due to a number of factors, partly new channels, partly because sports rights generally are increasing.”

Foxtel added 3 beIN Sports and 3 EPL Club channels to the sports package in 2016 after the company was criticised for losing the broadcast rights for the English Premier League to Optus.

Under the existing deal, Fox Sports holds the broadcast rights for the NRL until 2022.