The Heartland Championship started in 2006 as a progression on from the NPC, which had started in 1976.
From 2006 until 2010 there were 12 teams, split into 2 pools of 6 teams each. Each team played the others in the pool and at the end of these matches the top 3 teams in each pool combined to play in the Meads Cup. The other 3 teams in each pool combined to play in the Lochore Cup.
Each team then played the other 3 teams that they had not already played. Following this the top 4 teams in each competition played semi-finals and a final.
In 2011 the format was changed. There was only 1 pool of 12 teams. Teams played 8 of the other teams, after which the top 4 (teams 1-4 on the table) went into the Meads Cup and the next 4 (teams 5-8 on the table) went into the Lochore Cup. There were semi-finals and a final for each competition. The format has remained the same since these cahnges wree made.
The 2020 Heartland Championship was cancelled due to the COVID-19 pandemic.
The winner of the Meads Cup could gain promotion to the Mitre 10 Cup Championship competition.
Heartland Championship Teams