Sky, the UK pay-TV broadcaster, is set to extend its long-running rights deal for the Super League after being selected as the preferred domestic partner of English rugby league's top tier for the next three seasons.

Rugby League Commercial, the body established last year to address the future of the sport in England, will now enter a 30-day exclusive negotiating period with Sky Sports to formalize the broadcast rights agreement.

The partnership with Sky will then be extended for a further three years, until the end of the 2026 season, it is anticipated.

Under the proposed deal, the partnership will include the live broadcast of every Super League fixture, in the UK and worldwide, which the league described as a “transformative development” for the competition.

There would also be the continuation of a free-to-air window.

According to the league, multiple bids were tabled for the rights before the decision was made that Sky offered the best deal. Pay-TV rival TNT Sports (formerly BT Sport) and global streaming giant DAZN are understood to have been in the mix.

Sky’s present two-year deal was due to expire at the end of this season. That agreement is believed to be worth around £25 million ($31.9 million) per season.

The renewal will take the broadcaster’s relationship with the Super League beyond 30 years.

The new contract would run through the 30th anniversary of the launch of the Super League's partnership with Sky Sports for the inaugural season in 1996.

Rugby League Commercial was formed in May 2022 as part of the commercial realignment of the sport in England, a process in which sport and entertainment heavyweight IMG has been integral.

Rhodri Jones, previously the chief commercial officer at the Super League, was appointed as its first managing director last December.

Last September, IMG published a list of proposals based on revamping the domestic 12-team Super League, including removing the prospect of relegation from much of that competition, a joined-up calendar alongside international fixtures, the introduction of a new brand strategy, and issuing 'licenses' to clubs instead of promotion and relegation around the Super League.

The decision by the RFL governing body and Super League to partner with IMG came after a move in March 2022 by those two bodies to realign (after splitting in September 2018) and create a joint company to manage the sport’s commercial side.