Rugby League Commercial and BBC Sport have confirmed a new three-year broadcast partnership which for the first time includes regular live coverage of the Betfred Super League and this month’s Betfred World Club Challenge, as well as the Men’s, Women’s and Wheelchair Challenge Cups.
The multi-platform coverage will also include highlights of every Super League match on the BBC Sport website and app, and an extension of Rugby League’s partnership with BBC radio, with commentaries on BBC Radio 5 Live and 5 Sports Extra, as well as the extensive coverage on BBC local radio which includes Betfred Championship and League One.
The new coverage will kick off when the champions Wigan Warriors launch their title defence at Castleford Tigers on Saturday week, February 17 from 5pm on BBC Two and iPlayer - the first Super League match to be shown live on the BBC.
The following Saturday also on BBC Two, Wigan Warriors will face the three-times NRL champions Penrith Panthers at the DW Stadium, aiming to win the World Club Challenge for the fifth time.
A total of up to 15 Betfred Super League matches will be covered in each of the next three seasons across digital and linear channels, including two matches in the Play-Offs live on BBC TV for the first time in September and October.
In another first, the BBC Sport website and app will carry selected highlights from the Women’s Super League, including the semi finals and Grand Final, and the Wheelchair Super League Grand Final.
The reimagined relationship will see the continuation of the BBC’s long-standing coverage of the Men’s Challenge Cup including the Final at Wembley, which dates back to 1948, and will continue to showcase the very best of the women’s and wheelchair game - with the Women’s Final to be played at Wembley for the second time this June, and the semi finals of the Women’s competition, and the Final of the Wheelchair Challenge Cup, also being shown on BBC channels.
Rhodri Jones, Managing Director for Rugby League Commercial, said:
“This is a landmark agreement for Rugby League. Securing live free to air coverage on the BBC for the Super League competition as part of this reimagined partnership means there will be more visibility than ever before. To guarantee the Challenge Cup coverage for a further three years also is testament to the BBC’s commitment to one of the oldest rugby tournaments in the world, whilst acknowledging the sport of Rugby League is for everyone, with their continued coverage of the Women’s and Wheelchair competitions. The platform is now set for our players to show off their skill, speed and passion for those in the stadia, and to those watching at home.”
Philip Bernie, Interim Director of BBC Sport said:
“Nothing beats live sporting action and, combined with our team’s outstanding expert commentary and coverage, this new deal will deliver so much for Rugby League fans to enjoy. With more live games than ever before on the BBC, including live Super League matches for the very first time, and a new digital highlights package which will show the key action from the weekend’s matches, we are really excited about our expanded offer for this great sport.”