A historic new broadcast agreement will bring live Betfred Super League action to the BBC for the first time ever in 2024, with Rugby League Commercial and BBC Sport announcing on Wednesday the signing of a three-year deal which will also include this month's Betfred World Club Challenge.
Men's, Women's and Wheelchair Challenge Cups will also be screened as part of a landmark deal which brings the greatest offerings in Northern Hemisphere rugby league to the BBC's various platforms.
The new coverage begins with Wigan Warriors' first match in their Betfred Super League title defence when they travel to face Castleford Tigers on Saturday, February 17. The clash at the Mend-A-Hose Jungle will be shown on BBC Two and the BBC iPlayer from 5pm.
The following Saturday, also on BBC Two, Wigan will face the three-time defending NRL champions Penrith Panthers at the DW Stadium in the annual World Club Challenge fixture which was reinvigorated by St Helens' 13-12 victory over Nathan Cleary's side last February.
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.
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.
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, 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. The semi-finals of the Women’s competition, and the final of the Wheelchair Challenge Cup, are also being shown on BBC channels.
“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.”
Rhodri Jones, Managing Director for Rugby League Commercial
“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.”
Philip Bernie, Interim Director of BBC Sport said:
The new Super League season begins on Thursday, February 15 when Hull FC and Hull Kingston Rovers meet in the 239th meeting of the city rivals. That match kicks off at 20:00 GMT at the MKM Stadium.
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