Rugby League’s oldest and most prestigious knockout competition is set to gain more exposure than ever before after the RFL reached an agreement that will see Carnegie Challenge Cup fixtures broadcast live by both Sky Sports and the BBC.
For the first time in the competition’s history, Sky Sports are to screen ties from fourth, fifth and quarter-final rounds of this year’s tournament alongside the existing coverage on BBC1 and BBC2.
Today’s announcement follows on from the RFL securing a lucrative new five-year contract that will see the Challenge Cup shown on BBC until the end of the 2016 season.
“This arrangement will further elevate the profile of an iconic tournament which has a special place in the hearts of sports fans across the world,” said RFL Chief Executive Nigel Wood.
“It’s a terrific development to have Sky Sports add these Carnegie Challenge Cup matches to their portfolio.
“This arrangement will give the sport massive levels of exposure and allow more people than ever before to enjoy the drama we have come to expect from the Challenge Cup.
“Increasing numbers of people are now tuning in on a weekly basis to watch Rugby League action on Sky Sports and I’m sure that trend will continue with the addition of the Carnegie Challenge Cup.”
In 2012, Sky Sports will broadcast one live tie from the fourth and fifth rounds of the Carnegie Challenge Cup as well as live quarter-final action. Further Challenge Cup coverage will also be shown on Sky Sports until 2016.
Live Friday night Stobart Super League action has attracted bumper audiences on Sky Sports 1 throughout 2012. The aggregate audience for Super League matches on Sky Sports in 2012 is 33 per cent up on last year’s average.
Neville Smith, executive producer of Rugby League at Sky Sports said: “We welcome the Challenge Cup matches to our portfolio of live Rugby League on Sky Sports which will complement our regular Super League programming nicely.”