BBC extends snooker rights

The BBC has secured the rights to the World Snooker Championship in a deal worth over £6.5 million
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Ronnie O'Sullivan

The BBC has secured the rights to the World Snooker Championship in a deal worth over £6.5 million.

The corporation has sealed a two-year extension to its contract for world snooker’s three biggest tournaments: the UK Championship, the World Championship and the Masters, until 2019.

The deal will allow the BBC to mark 50 years of snooker coverage, having begun with Pot Black in 1969.

The extension will come to something of a relief to the BBC after recent budget cuts forced it to cancel a range of sporting contracts, including its coverage of Formula One.

It also cut short its exclusivity of their Six Nations in favour of a shared deal with ITV, as well as ending nearly 60 years of live Open golf coverage in favour of a highlights package.

Rona Fairhead, BBC Trust chair, said, “Some [savings] will come from programme content cuts, and one of the biggest areas is sadly sport.

"I find it very sad. You don’t want to get the BBC to a stage where there is so little coverage that you lose the innate production capability, and I still think that the coverage that the BBC gives of sport is superb.”

The organisation is looking to cut an additional £550 million from its annual bill by 2020 as the it takes on TV licencing costs for the over 75s.

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