BBC secures Wimbledon rights for 2018-2020
As the BBC prepares to face charter renewal year with a greater sense of uncertainty than at any other time in its recent past, there is some emphatically positive news for the Corporation with the announcement that it has secured a new three-year extension to its current Wimbledon Championships contract with the All England Club.
The move means that Wimbledon 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 2015 event was the most digital to date, incorporating 15 live HD streams available across all devices, multi-court video player, text commentary, live votes and audience interaction via dedicated social media. The longest partnership in sports broadcasting history will see Wimbledon coverage continue to develop in the digital age, says the BBC.
Richard Lewis, chief executive of the All England Club, says: “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. 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, says: “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, says: “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.”