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BBC extends long-running commitment to Challenge Cup

UK public-service broadcaster the BBC has extended its long-running rights deal to cover domestic rugby league tournament the Challenge Cup.

The new agreement with the Rugby Football League, the sport’s governing body in England, covers the Challenge Cup and the Women’s Challenge Cup until 2021. The BBC last extended its deal in September 2015, a four-year extension running from 2017 until 2020.

The BBC first covered the Challenge Cup Final in 1948 and has shown rugby’s oldest national knockout competition every year since 1958.

In 2020, BBC Sport will stream one fixture from each of the first five rounds of the Challenge Cup, and televise two games from the sixth round and the quarter finals, before both semi-finals and the final from London’s Wembley Stadium.

This season’s Women’s Challenge Cup begins in March, with coverage of all rounds leading up to the final on the RFL’s streaming platform, Our League. The league this month enhanced the schedule of live games available via Our League, following talks with domestic rights-holder, pay-television broadcaster Sky.

In other news, the RFL has confirmed a repeat of last year’s 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 June 6, as the Challenge Cup Final at Wembley has been brought forward from late August to July 18. All three games will again be shown live by the BBC.