The RFL are delighted to announce a new three-year enhanced agreement with the BBC to extend their coverage of the Challenge Cup until 2024.
The new deal for the Men’s competition will see the BBC continuing to cover two matches from the Quarter Finals and the round of 16 that precedes it, as well as both Semi Finals and the Final.
It will commence from 2022 - when Rugby League celebrates 70 years since the first Challenge Cup Final at Wembley to be televised nationally by the BBC Workington Town’s victory over Featherstone Rovers in 1952.
The BBC’s ground breaking online and digital coverage of the early rounds of the competition featuring teams and clubs from all sections of the Community Game will continue and will sit alongside the RFL’s additional digital and highlights rights allowing the opportunity to promote the sport to a wider audience.
In addition, the Women’s Challenge Cup Final will also air live on the BBC for the next four seasons along with the Wheelchair Challenge Cup Final which will be shown live on the BBC’s digital platforms. This competition was won in 2019 for the first time by Leeds Rhinos, who currently hold all three Challenge Cups.
All three 2021 Rugby League World Cups, Men’s, Women’s and Wheelchair which will take place in England next autumn will also be covered live on the BBC with 61 matches in total airing across platforms.
Ralph Rimmer, the RFL Chief Executive, said: “As we near the end of a year of so many unprecedented challenges, we are delighted to have concluded a deal to extend the BBC’s coverage not only of the Challenge Cup, but also of the Women’s and Wheelchair competitions which we see as being so important to the future of our sport.
“The value of the sport’s enduring partnership with the BBC has never been more evident than in 2020, as we worked together on delivering a memorable Challenge Cup Final at Wembley despite the absence of fans, which attracted the strongest viewing figures for almost a decade. More recently, raising awareness and funds for the Motor Neurone Disease Association has been bolstered by the BBC’s inspirational work with Rob Burrow and his family, culminating in their magnificent coverage of Kevin Sinfield’s heroic efforts.
“2021 will be another huge year for Rugby League on the BBC with their coverage of the three World Cups to be staged in this country next October and November, so it is fitting that this new deal includes more exposure for the Women’s and Wheelchair Challenge Cup competitions.”
Barbara Slater, Director of BBC Sport said: “Our strong relationship with the RFL goes back many years and we are delighted to continue bringing live coverage of the Challenge Cup, across BBC platforms to fans up to 2024.”
Tickets for the 2021 Challenge Cup Final at Wembley Stadium connected by EE, to be played on Saturday July 17, went on sale last week and are available here.