Wimbledon set to be broadcast on pay TV for first time after Eurosport strikes agreement with BBC

 
Joe Hall
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Day Thirteen: The Championships - Wimbledon 2015
Live games from the All England club will still be broadcast on the BBC (Source: Getty)

Wimbledon could be set for a new home on pay-TV this year after Eurosport announced it is in advanced negotiations for a groundbreaking deal with the BBC to share coverage of the tennis grand slam.

The agreement is still waiting on approval from TV regulator Ofcom but could be in place for the start of this year’s tournament, marking the first time the iconic event will be shown on a commercial channel.

While BBC would retain live coverage of games throughout the day, Eurosport will broadcast a daily highlights package in the evenings.

Read more: Eurosport signs £920m Olympics rights deal‚Äč

“It’s with the regulator,” said Eurosport chief executive Peter Hutton in reference to the deal. “Everything else is basically sorted.

“The idea is to have nightly highlights of Wimbledon. So that becomes complimentary to what the BBC are doing.

“It means that no matter what time you come in from work, the highlights are there and available on a broadcast platform. And I think that’s a great way of completing our four grand slam story in the UK.

“It gives us a real privilege to be the first pay broadcaster in the UK to be allowed into Wimbledon.”

Eurosport, which already owns rights to the Australian Open, French Open and US Open, has made ambitious investments since being taken over by American media giant Discovery Communications in 2014.

Discovery spent £920m to acquire exclusive pan-European rights to the Olympics from 2022 onwards last year and has since sub-licensed coverage to the BBC for the 2022 and 2024 Games.

The BBC meanwhile is slimming down its sports coverage due to a £35m budget cut and has struck another agreement with Eurosport to share Wimbledon coverage — a proposal which Ofcom has put out to consultation until 15 June.

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