Payment technology company Sporting Pay has agreed a shirt sponsorship deal with Hull Kingston Rovers under which it will support the club’s transition to a cashless stadium model, while Super League has today (Thursday) set out its plan for the 2021 season with Emerald Headingley Stadium to host the opening round of fixtures.

Sporting Pay has signed on as a principal partner of Hull KR for the 2021 rugby league season, and will have its logo displayed on the front of the club’s home shirt.

The company holds partnerships with over 80 professional sports clubs, including Scottish Premiership football team Rangers and Edgbaston, home of Warwickshire County Cricket Club.

Chris Norminton, managing director of Sporting Pay, said he is looking forward to enhancing the club’s payment systems at Hull College Craven Park Stadium (pictured). He added: “We are delighted to be partnering with Hull KR by becoming the new front of shirt sponsor, a club with a great supporter base that prides itself on being at the heart of the local community.

“As the club moves to being a cashless stadium, we will be installing the latest in payment technology around the ground and in the back office. It is an exciting development for Sporting Pay, which will help us build a platform from which to grow. We also plan to engage with local businesses in and around the club to offer our services in due course.

“We strongly believe this partnership will be a prosperous and beneficial one for both parties, and we are looking forward to helping the club safely welcome fans back in the coming season.”

Hull Kingston Rovers chief executive, Paul Lakin, said: “They have vast experience across the sports industry and their technology will greatly assist our matchday and event operations. Chris and his colleagues also intend to embrace the regional business community that we work in and we look forward to assisting Sporting Pay in growing their business.”

Meanwhile, Super League has announced that its 2021 season will commence on March 26-28 with a round of double header fixtures played behind closed doors, in line with current Government protocols, at Emerald Headingley Stadium, home of Leeds Rhinos.

In a change to the initial 2021 format, the revised structure will now see teams compete over 25 rounds, including Magic Weekend. The Grand Final will take place as originally scheduled at Old Trafford, home of Premier League football club Manchester United, on October 9.

Super League last month said it was focusing on running a condensed 25-round 2021 season, with efforts being made to push back Magic Weekend in order to maximise the chances of fans attending.

Super League announced in November that the new season would commence on March 11, but this was pushed back to March 25 following talks with broadcast partner Sky Sports. The latest national COVID-19 lockdown, which has removed the possibility of having fans in stadia, led to the rethink, with matchday revenue critical to the business models of Super League clubs.

Magic Weekend remains part of the calendar for 2021, however due to ongoing COVID-19 crowd restrictions at sporting events, the proposed date for the St James’ Park showpiece in Newcastle has been moved to September 4-5.

Rhodri Jones, Super League chief commercial officer, said: “Confirmation that Dacia Magic Weekend remains an important part of the 2021 season shows our commitment to the event and thanks must go to Newcastle United in supporting us to achieve this.

“Whilst it is frustrating for all involved to not be welcoming fans back into our stadiums for the start of the season, we are hopeful that as the situation in the country continues to improve and the vaccine rollout nears completion, we will be seeing fans enjoying live sport again soon. 

“We will continue to work with all of our stakeholders to ensure that we are ready to deliver the return of fans in a safe and secure way.”

Full fixtures for the 2021 season will be published on February 26, marking one month to go until the new season kicks-off. Super League chose Emerald Headingley Stadium and Totally Wicked Stadium, the home of St Helens, as neutral venues for the restart of its 2020 season back in August.