UK Bookmaker Coral have teamed up with The Rugby Football League as part of a “historic commercial partnership” that will see the bookmaker sponsoring both the men’s and women’s Challenge Cups for the first time.
The two-year deal will bring the two competitions together on 27 July, when the Coral women’s Challenge Cup Final shares the stage with the men’s semi-finals in a tripleheader at the University of Bolton Stadium.
The men’s Coral Challenge Cup Final will then follow at Wembley Stadium on Saturday, August 24.
Adrian Osman, the Head of Sponsorship and Events at Coral, praised the new sponsorship deal: “The Rugby League Challenge Cup and the final at Wembley are flagship events in British sport, and we are delighted that Coral’s name will now be associated with them in this significant deal.
“In addition, the opportunity to get involved with women’s sport and the development of women’s Rugby League as the first title sponsors of the Women’s Challenge Cup is hugely exciting for us – and combining the final with the semi-finals of the Coral Challenge Cup should produce another great event.
“We’re really looking forward to seeing the two competitions unfold through the spring and summer.”
Leeds Rhinos are set to defend the women’s Challenge Cup title, while the 2018 Wembley winners Catalans Dragons will compete for the men’s title after the team confirmed its attendance following uncertainty over participation.
“This is a really significant day both for the Challenge Cup and for women’s Rugby League,” said Ralph Rimmer, the RFL chief executive.
“The men’s Challenge Cup is one of the iconic competitions and trophies of British sport, with more than 120 years of history, and the famous Wembley final televised live to the nation and the world by the BBC.
“The Women’s Challenge Cup may not have that history, but Coral’s enthusiasm for it to be part of a joint sponsorship deal confirms our determination that it is set for a really exciting future.
“With Coral’s name now linked to both the men’s and women’s Challenge Cups, it’s equally exciting to be able to extend the double header for the men’s semi -finals that proved such a big hit last year, and now incorporate the Coral Women’s Challenge Cup Final.
“We are confident that thousands of the supporters of the teams who reach the semi-finals of the men’s Coral Challenge Cup will also take the opportunity to watch the outstanding spectacle provided by our best women’s teams – and that will ensure their skills and athleticism are seen by the record audience they deserve.”