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What the BBC has bizarrely chosen to show instead of the Challenge Cup

The Challenge Cup trophy at the Tottenham Hotspur Stadium before the game.

Surprisingly, the BBC will not be broadcasting any of the Challenge Cup fixtures next weekend on live terrestrial TV, including a huge Leeds vs St Helens clash.

For many the Challenge Cup is a BBC staple, and the national broadcaster has been showing it since 1948.

Leeds Rhinos v St Helens will be shown on BBC iPlayer and the BBC Red Button, but won’t be available on any of the BBC’s regular channels.

What are BBC showing instead?

So what are the BBC showing instead of this bumper Super League clash and the other games over the weekend?

Well The One Show, Celebrity Mastermind and Would I Le to you takes precedent on BBC One and on BBC Two the Great British Menu: Banquet Special and Gardener’s World are on so viewers will see some grass if not the famous Headingley turf.

On Saturday, BBC One sees Women’s Super League in the football and the likes of Escape to the Country whilst Agatha Christie and the Women’s Six Nations is on BBC Two.

Meanwhile, on Sunday Songs of Praise, Bargain Hunt and more Women’s Six Nations is selected over the cup.

Fans react to Challenge Cup omission

Fans have been reacting to the news on social media.

Some lamented the way that TV coverage is going – this follows the disappointing news that some of the Super League fixtures in the BBC’s first year of showing the competition, will also only be shown across other BBC platforms.

Others looked back to the largely-promising few years of coverage that Channel 4 gave the sport from 2022 to 2023.

Super League, now Challenge Cup? Our verdict

It’s really disappointing that the BBC has made another decision that will limit coverage of the sport we love; after looking really positive at the start of the year, with a BBC Super LEague deal for the first time, this feels like a real missed opportunity to make the most of it.

Two of the country’s biggest teams playing each other shouldn’t be consigned to the red button.



  1. Peter Otoole

    March 22, 2024 at 8:23 am

    Give the challenge cup to channel 4.

    • Andy M

      March 23, 2024 at 4:06 pm

      The BBC has paid lip service to RL for many years using it to fill a gap when there is no other events and to be able to show the Challenge Cup Final. They cannot switch to the football scores quick enough. In contrast you don’t even get a score update when RU games are shown, even during the half time interval. OK, they clearly class it as a second tier sport but last night was an absolute disgrace. Shown via the Red button, the second string production team, camera focused on the crowd before the try was scored, the clock totally illegible due to the colour scheme. The whole coverage was very amateurish at best.This for a tie featuring two of the biggest names in RL. They also had the nerve to mention the two upcoming super league fixtures they are showing, one on the red button and the other on BBC 3. The RL’s desire to have the game broadcast to a wide audience on terrestrial TV is understandable but this is not what I would call widening the audience. I would suggest that the RL tear up the three year contract, award it to C4, who at least gave good coverage to the game with some enthusiasm, and leave the BBC to their RU and women’s sports. This would also include any and all cup finals and international games too.

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