Rugby League - Challenger Cup gets new sponsor

The Rugby Football League have announced the first of a series of new sponsorship deals by unveiling Tetley's as the latest backer of the Challenge Cup.

In a throwback to the days of rugby league's close links with alcohol and tobacco deals, Tetley's will sponsor the game's famous knockout competition for the next two seasons.

Tetley's, who were title sponsors of Super League from 2000-04, take over from Leeds Metropolitan University, whose six-year sponsorship under their Carnegie banner came to an end last season.

RFL chief executive Nigel Wood said: "It is an exciting new era for the sport of rugby league. Tetley's is a dynamic national brand with a wonderful vision for rugby league and its activation around the partnership.

"The television coverage of the Tetley's Challenge Cup on the BBC and Sky Sports will deliver a robust platform for both parties to continue to build on the popularity of this historic competition."

As well as putting their name to the Tetley's Challenge Cup, the brewer will also become the official beer of Super League for the next two seasons.

Carlsberg UK communications director Bruce Ray said: "The Tetley's brand has a long association with the RFL and we are delighted to announce these new sponsorships.

"They will generate increased awareness of the Tetley's brand and will also provide unique opportunities for consumers and customers to engage in the sponsorships through competitions and promotions."

The deal, announced at Wembley, which is the venue for the August 24 final, takes care of one of a host of vacant sponsorship portfolios the League are hoping to fill this month.

Super League clubs voted to end the controversial, "cash-less" Stobart deal after just 12 months, while the Co-operative's backing of the Championship ended at the end of last season. In addition, the naming rights to the 2013 World Cup are still up for grabs.