Revolutionizing Rugby League: How IMG’s Grading System Could Elevate Hull FC’s Fortunes

The Rugby League landscape is set to undergo a transformative shift in 2025, with the introduction of a strategic grading system developed by the RFL and marketing agency IMG. This new approach could prove to be a lifeline for Hull FC, who were facing relegation concerns prior to the changes. As the league prepares for this pivotal season, the effectiveness of the grading system and its impact on the sport’s competitiveness and appeal remain a topic of keen interest.

Rugby League’s New Era: How IMG’s Grading System Could Save Hull FC’s Season

The 2025 Super League season will see a significant shift in team composition, with the league’s structure now dictated by a club’s IMG Grading score. This strategic move by the RFL, in partnership with the marketing agency IMG, aims to create a more stable and marketable Rugby League landscape.

According to Sky Sports pundit Jon Wilkin, the new grading system could prove to be a saving grace for Hull FC, who were facing a potential embarrassing relegation battle prior to the changes.

Under the preliminary gradings released in October, Hull FC found themselves as the seventh and final Grade A team, narrowly securing a spot in the top tier with a score of 15.05 out of 20. While these gradings may fluctuate over the course of the season, it appears likely that the Black and Whites will maintain their Super League status, despite a recent 34-18 loss to London Broncos that raised questions about the team’s on-field commitment.

Wilkin, a former Saints captain, highlighted Hull FC’s precarious position, noting,

“They’ll be thankful for the IMG grading system that looks like it could save them from a real embarrassment this year.”

This sentiment echoes the concerns raised by Leigh owner Derek Beaumont, who argued that the grading system could undermine the integrity of the relegation battle.

The core objective of IMG’s partnership with the RFL is to enhance the marketability and stability of Rugby League. By introducing a grading system that prioritizes off-field investment over on-field performance for league composition, the governing body aims to prevent the all-too-common cycle of teams going bust due to overspending in pursuit of promotion.

As the 2025 Super League season unfolds, the effectiveness of IMG’s grading system will be closely scrutinized. While it may have spared Hull FC’s blushes this year, the true impact of these changes on the competitiveness and overall appeal of the league remains to be seen.

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