The All England Club and the BBC have extended their current contract, giving the BBC the rights to broadcast Wimbledon from 2018 to 2020. In December it was reported that the BBC may have to give up the rights to broadcast the event and instead share coverage with BT Sport, to an effort to cut costs.
The move means that the Wimbledon tennis tournament will remain free to air, and The Championships will continue to be played out across BBC One, BBC Two, BBC Red Button and the BBC Sport website with live radio coverage rights also extended on Radio 5 live.
The Corporation claims its partnership with the All England Club is the longest in sports broadcasting history, and it has promised that the new deal will see Wimbledon coverage continue to develop in the digital age. For the event this year, 15 live HD streams were made available across all devices, with features including a multi-court video player, text commentary, live votes and audience interaction via social media.
“Our long partnership with the BBC has brought the excitement and drama of the Championships to viewers and listeners for over 80 years and we are delighted to be extending our successful association for a further three years until 2020,” said Richard Lewis, chief executive of the All England Club. “The BBC consistently delivers large national audiences for Wimbledon and they deliver those audiences with high-quality production values, live across multiple platforms and always with a strong narrative. Importantly, as host broadcaster for the Championships, the BBC also ensures that we can provide a comprehensive and premium service to our global media partners.”
Tony Hall, director-general of the BBC, added: “Wimbledon unites the nation and I’m delighted that it will continue to air on the BBC until 2020. There is something very special about having major sporting events on the BBC, and in what are difficult financial times, this is a deal that represents the BBC’s commitment to sport in what is an incredibly competitive market.”
Barbara Slater, director of BBC Sport, commented: “We are delighted to secure the rights to broadcast Wimbledon until 2020 and continue our long-standing and valued partnership with the All England Club. Wimbledon has a special place in the hearts of the nation and our new agreement ensures the world’s greatest tennis championships can be enjoyed free to air by the widest possible audience. Through unparalleled coverage across TV, radio and online, Wimbledon on the BBC will continue to unite the nation through must-see sporting moments, captivating audiences of all ages.”