BBC extend Challenge Cup contract

The Rugby Football League and the BBC have extended an agreement on broadcast coverage of the Coral Challenge Cup and the Coral Women’s Challenge Cup until 2021.

And the RFL has confirmed that there will be a repeat of last year’s Coral Challenge Cups triple header at the University of Bolton Stadium, which will again host the women’s final followed by the two men’s semi-finals.

The 2020 triple header will be played significantly earlier in the summer than last year, on Saturday June 6, as the Coral Challenge Cup Final at Wembley has been brought forward from late August to Saturday July 18.

All three games at Bolton will again be shown live by the BBC, with kick-off times and coverage details to be confirmed when tickets go on sale shortly.

The BBC first covered the Challenge Cup Final in 1948 and has broadcast the competition every year since 1958.

In 2020, BBC Sport will stream one fixture from each of the first five rounds of the Coral Challenge Cup, and televise two games from the Sixth Round and the Quarter Finals, before both Semi Finals and the Final from Wembley Stadium.

Coverage begins today (January 11) with the meeting of two powerhouses of the community game – Skirlaugh from east Hull, and Hunslet Club Parkside from south Leeds – which will be shown live on BBC iPlayer, BBC Sport Online and via Red Button at 12.30pm.

The Second Round draw will be broadcast live on BBC Radio Leeds on Tuesday evening (January 14).

The Coral Women’s Challenge Cup begins in March, with coverage of all rounds leading up to the final on the RFL’s Our League platform.

Ralph Rimmer, the RFL’s Chief Executive, said: “We are delighted to be able to make these two really positive announcements ahead of the start of the 2020 Coral Challenge Cup – especially with the men’s First Round, and the start of the BBC’s coverage, taking place this weekend.

“The Challenge Cup remains one of the jewels in the crown of British sport and the BBC’s coverage, which crucially showcases the best of Rugby League to terrestrial viewers, is second to none. The BBC’s ongoing commitment to such a prestigious competition is a fantastic way for us to begin celebrating the 125th birthday of the sport of Rugby League.”

Full coverage of this weekend’s first round games in the Corals Challenge Cup can be found in the new edition of League Express, which is available online on Sunday night from 9.00pm, or in the shops on Monday morning.