THE Rugby Football League has announced the appointment of Blake Solly as the general manager of Rugby League's elite competition, the First Utility Super League.
Solly will step down from his position as RFL director of standards and licensing to commence his new role on June 1.
The appointment comes at a pivotal time for the competition and the sport as Rugby League prepares to embrace new structures from 2015.
Super League chief executive Nigel Wood said: “This is a significant appointment that will enable the First Utility Super League to maximise the opportunities created by the new league structures and ensure that the competition builds on the momentum we have gained in the last few years.
"With an expanding commercial portfolio and a record-breaking broadcast contract with Sky Sports in place, Super League is perfectly positioned to grow still further and Blake is the best person to lead that growth.
"Blake has proved to be a valuable, respected and accomplished administrator during his time at the RFL and this appointment is recognition of his ability.
"The model of having a dedicated general manager helped us deliver the most successful Rugby League World Cup of all time and I have no doubts that this new role, together with other initiatives, will produce similar results for Super League.”
Solly's elevation to the new role is given further momentum by the announcement today that Paul Tyrrell will join the organisation to advise on PR and corporate communications.
Tyrrell was previously head of external affairs at BBC North and has held senior communications roles at Manchester City, Liverpool and Everton football clubs. He will support Solly in his new role.
Solly said: “This is an extremely exciting time for the First Utility Super League and it is a real honour to be appointed as general manager.
“This season we have seen a significant increase in the television viewing audience, sell-out crowds and new sponsors joining the Super League.
"The appointments of marketing director Mark Foster and Paul Tyrrell, with their experience and success in marketing and communications, ensures we are best placed to capitalise on this momentum.
“I want to thank the Super League clubs for supporting the appointment, and look forward to working closely with them to ensure the continued growth of their competition.”
The RFL is also in the process of recruiting a new commercial director to build on the growing appeal of Super League.