BBC Sport discuss rugby league in Parliament
Last night (4 December) the All-Party Parliamentary Group for Rugby League welcomed representatives from BBC Sport to Westminster to discuss the corporation’s coverage of rugby league.
BBC Director of Sport Barbara Slater, Lead Sport Editor Alastair McIntyre and Rugby League Correspondent Dave Woods made a presentation to Members of Parliament, Peers honorary and associate members of the Group in the Palace of Westminster.
The presentation provided an overview of audiences for the BBC’s coverage of the sport in 2018, and also outlined the organisation’s creative vision and targets for the sport in the coming years. Audience data showed a declining long term trend in Challenge Cup viewing figures, whilst international fixtures were shown to be reaching a bigger audience. The BBC’s coverage was also shown to score amongst the very highest of any sport with audiences on quality.
There was a particular focus on the Rugby League World Cup 2021, which will see 16 live matches from the men’s competition on network television, with the remaining matches on the red button or online. The potential for the BBC to show women’s and wheelchair tournament fixtures across its platforms was also discussed.
Speaking after the meeting, All-Party Parliamentary Rugby League Group Chair and Member of Parliament for Bradford South, Judith Cummins MP, said “it was a pleasure to welcome Barbara, Alastair and Dave to Parliament, and hear more about BBC Sport’s coverage of the game.
“The BBC plays an important role in promoting rugby league to a wider audience, and their coverage of the Rugby League World Cup 2021 presents a significant opportunity for the game.
“Whilst there is more to be done to put rugby league on the agenda across all platforms and not just sport, the World Cup in particular will provide a great chance for the game to expand its reach, and engage a broader audience.
“Members of the Group look forward to continuing to work with the BBC Sport team in the coming years as we look forward to the Rugby League World Cup 2021 in particular.”
BBC Sport Lead Editor Alastair McIntyre said “it was an honour to discuss BBC Sport’s coverage of rugby league with Members of the All-Party Parliamentary Rugby League Group.
“BBC Sport is committed to continuing to inform, educate and entertain our audiences but also to reach new and younger audiences across the United Kingdom.
“Working with partners across the sport, we hope to put the Challenge Cup into a stronger position in the coming years, and we are incredibly excited by the opportunity that the Rugby League World Cup 2021 presents.
“I hope that all involved with rugby league can work together more closely to ensure that we can engage as many people as possible with coverage of the game.”