BBC extend Challenge Cup deal

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The RFL and BBC have agreed a deal that will see the broadcaster continue to televise the Ladbrokes Challenge Cup and highlights of the First Utility Super League until 2020.

The deal ensures that the Challenge Cup final will continue to be broadcast live on the BBC until 2020 and that the BBC will broadcast live matches in the sixth round, quarter-finals and semi-finals for the duration of the contract.

The announcement of the new deal comes days after the 2015 final between the Leeds Rhinos and Hull Kingston Rovers attracted a crowd of 80,140 to Wembley Stadium, the highest attendance since 2010.

Speaking after the final, RFL Chief Executive Nigel Wood said: “The Challenge Cup has a rich heritage and I am delighted that we have agreed a deal with the BBC that ensures one of the major national sporting events of the year will continue to be watched by millions of fans across the country.We are a sport that is enjoyed by a wide range of people from across the UK and we want to ensure that as many of them as possible enjoy watching it.”

The new deal will also see Rugby League coverage continue on BBC Radio 5 Live.

BBC Director of Sport, Barbara Slater said: BBC Director of Sport, Barbara Slater said “We’re delighted to renew our contract with the RFL and our commitment to this most prestigious of competitions. Rugby League is much loved by our audiences and a key part of our output, with our coverage of the Challenge Cup, the Super League, live radio commentaries and extensive online coverage combining to showcase the sport to the widest possible audiences. In addition the BBC brings live International action, with forthcoming coverage of the Autumn tests, the 2016 Four Nations and the 2017 Rugby League World Cup.”