Rugby League: Ladbrokes touch down as new Challenge Cup sponsors

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The RFL has agreed a three-year partnership with betting company Ladbrokes, who have become title sponsors of the Challenge Cup.

The Ladbrokes Challenge Cup will be contested by 78 clubs drawn from First Utility Super League, Kingstone Press Championship and League 1 as well as the community game, Armed Forces, police and the University and College competitions in 2015.

The 2015 final, at Wembley, will be played 120 years to the day since rugby league was founded at a meeting at the George Hotel in Huddersfield on August 29, 1895.

The first round draw for the Ladbrokes Challenge Cup will be made on Thursday at Wembley Stadium.

The RFL claim the new sponsors will benefit from more than 1,000 hours of dedicated global TV coverage, including over 70 hours of UK coverage.

It is estimated that 2013’s competition - the last year for which figures are available - reached over 5.4m people with a cumulative BBC live audience of over 7.2m.

RFL commercial director Chris Rawlings said: “I am delighted to announce a three-year partnership that will see the sport’s oldest and most prestigious competition become the Ladbrokes Challenge Cup.

“The Rugby League Challenge Cup is rich in heritage and tradition and it is both significant and fitting that the first Ladbrokes Challenge Cup final will be played on Founders Day.”

Ladbrokes will have headline branding at all Challenge Cup ties, introduce a responsible gambling programme for rugby league players, fans and staff and also introduce a player of the round award.

Ladbrokes will also promote the competition across all their own media channels.

Rawlings added: “Ladbrokes is one of the world’s most recognised and respected brands which has over 800,000 customers and this partnership will bring great benefits to both parties.

“Ladbrokes is the latest major brand to recognise the advantages of associating their brand with rugby league and it gives me great pleasure to welcome them to the sport’s current existing and impressive commercial portfolio.

“We look forward to working closely with everyone at Ladbrokes and our member clubs to promote this exciting partnership.”

Richard Glynn, chief executive of of Ladbrokes, said: “We’re thrilled to begin our sponsorship of the Ladbrokes Challenge Cup in a historic and momentous year for the sport. Rugby league is without doubt one of the world’s most exciting sports, brimming with energy and adrenaline both on and off the pitch.

“The fans are beyond passionate and that passion is infectious and spreading quickly across the globe. This exclusive deal will bring Ladbrokes unprecedented access to the action.”

He added: “2015 already promises to be bigger and better and this is a fantastic opportunity for Ladbrokes to engage with rugby league stakeholders on both an elite and grassroots level to continue the rapid growth of the sport. We’re looking forward to the season ahead packed full of excitement, thrills and spills and of course, world class rugby.”

Niall Walker.

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