Betfred Championship play-offs amended for 2020 with Sky Sports set to broadcast promotion race for second season running

Featherstone Rovers pictured during their play-off run last season. PIC: Dec Hayes.
Featherstone Rovers pictured during their play-off run last season. PIC: Dec Hayes.

THE Betfred Championship play-offs will be broadcast by Sky Sports for a second-straight season.

Last season, Featherstone Rovers' run to the Championship Grand Final - which ended in defeat against Toronto Wolfpack - was shown live and Sky Sports are set to show all the drama again in 2020.

The play-off structure has been amended slightly by the Rugby Football League with home advantage no longer secured by league position only.

Home advantage throughout the play-offs had been determined by a club's league placing but now the winners of the first semi-final in round two of the play-offs will earn home advantage in the Championship Grand Final.

That means that the teams finishing in first or second now have the opportunity to play the Grand Final on home soil. The loser of the first semi-final will still have home advantage in the preliminary final.

The first semi-final is played between first and second place while the other semi-final is between the team finishing third and the winner of the elimination final, which is played between fourth and fifth place.

The winner of the first semi-final goes straight to the Grand Final while the preliminary final is contested by the losers of the first semi-final and the winners of the second semi-final.

The Grand Final is scheduled to be played on the weekend beginning on October 3.

Meanwhile, the AB Sundecks 1895 Cup final will now act as a curtain raiser to the Coral Challenge Final, kicking off at midday on July 18.

Last year the fixture was played after the Challenge Cup Final as Sheffield Eagles beat Widnes Vikings to become the first winners of the trophy.

Mark Foster, the RFL’s Chief Commercial Officer, said: “We’re delighted to be able to confirm that Sky Sports will again be showing the Betfred Championship play-offs this autumn, allowing them to capture the twists and turns in the battle for promotion to the Betfred Super League.

“It’s great exposure for our leading Championship clubs, adding to the exciting expanded programme of coverage on the RFL’s Our League platform this season with a new focus on live Sunday night matches.

“Our League will also be providing extensive coverage of Betfred League 1 including the play-offs, and we have listened to the views of the clubs in both competitions in making changes to the structure of the play-offs in both which will provide a greater reward for results during the play-offs themselves.

“We’ve also listened to the views of clubs and supporters in working to change the kick-off time of the AB Sundecks 1895 Cup.

"We’re grateful for the co-operation of Wembley Stadium in allowing us to bring the kick-off forward, and we hope that change will be welcomed – and ensure a suitable atmosphere in the stadium when the winners receive their trophy.”