The new identities for The Co-operative Championships have today been unveiled by the RFL and give the leagues a fresh new look for the start of the 2009 season.
Previously known as The National Leagues, the decision to rebrand the two tiers outside of the engage Super League to The Co-operative Championship and Championship 1 was taken at the end of this season and followed extensive consultation with clubs, supporters and key stakeholders.
Designed by Halifax based Fluid Solutions, the new identities aim to further invigorate what are already vibrant and thriving competitions by increasing their brand identity.
As part of the revamp of the competitions, teams have also agreed to adopt squad numbers as well as player names on the back of shirts. Clubs will also be competing for a prize pot of £200,000, the biggest amount of prize money ever at this level.
Phil Williams, the RFL’s Marketing Manager, said: “The new identity is both bold and modern and we believe representative of what are exciting and fantastic competitions.
“These are exciting times for teams in The Co-operative Championships and next year teams will be going all out to the win the competition and claim the biggest prize pot ever offered at this level.”
As well as more prize money then ever before, both finalists in The Co-operative Championship Grand Final will also be eligible to apply for the next round of engage Super League licences for the 2012-2014 seasons.
Liz Matkin, The Co-operative’s Sponsorship Manager, said: “We have been proud to sponsor the National Leagues for the last two seasons, and are extremely excited about what lays ahead in 2009 and beyond.
“A new look will raise the profile of the competition and I cannot wait for 12 March and the start of The Co-operative Championships.”
In addition to the rebranded Co-operative Championships next year, clubs will also compete in a revamped Northern Rail Cup, consisting of two groups of 10 teams, which kicks off in early February.
The eventual winners of the competition will be eligible to apply for an engage Super League licence in 2011, whilst those English based teams not involved in the final will play in the inaugural Northern Rail 9’s, a tournament which will be held at Fylde RUFC over 11 and 12 July to coincide with the Northern Rail Cup Final.
Sky Sports will also continue in 2009 with their Thursday night coverage of The Co-operative Championships as well as the knock-out stages of the Northern Rail Cup.