BBC Sport and the RFL announce a new contract that will see the BBC remain as the principal broadcaster for Rugby League’s oldest and most prestigious knockout competition, the Carnegie Challenge Cup, for the next five years.
The deal ensures that the Carnegie Challenge Cup final will continue to be broadcast live on BBC One until 2016. The BBC will also broadcast live matches in the fourth and fifth rounds, quarter-finals and semi-finals for the duration of the contract.
RFL Chairman Richard Lewis said: “It gives me great pleasure to confirm that the Challenge Cup will remain on the BBC for the next five years. The Challenge Cup has a rich heritage and I am delighted that the competition’s long association with the BBC is to continue.
“The visibility and profile afforded by the sport’s presence on the BBC and the BBC iPlayer is hugely important and we look forward to working with the BBC as they showcase all the excitement and drama from the Carnegie Challenge Cup and Stobart Super League.”
The 2011 Carnegie Challenge Cup final, Wigan Warriors v Leeds Rhinos was watched by an average TV audience of 1.61m people, a 19% increase on the corresponding figure from 2010.
Viewing figures for the new-look BBC Super League Show, which has been screened nationally on BBC Two (and via channels 977 and 978 on the Sky platform) in regular slots throughout 2012, are more than double what they were in 2011.
BBC Director of Sport, Barbara Slater, said “The BBC has been the proud broadcast partner of the Challenge Cup for over half a century so we're delighted to be continuing our long and successful relationship with the RFL. Rugby League forms a key part of the BBC's rights portfolio and through our new four year deal we're look forward to ensuring this prestigious and fiercely contested tournament reaches an ever growing audience.”
The BBC has been the proud broadcast partner of the Challenge Cup for over half a century so we're delighted to be continuing our long and successful relationship with the RFL."