BT Sport to screen live women’s tennis
BT Sport has signed a deal with the Women’s Tennis Association (WTA) to show as much as 800 hours per year of live tennis featuring the best women players in the world, including the season-ending showpiece TEB BNP Paribas WTA Championships.
As a result of the deal, BT Sport will show live matches from 21 WTA tournaments across the globe.
BT says it has chosen to invest in women’s tennis as it seeks to widen the appeal of its new sports channels, which will launch this summer.
The announcement comes during a robust period for British women’s tennis, with two British players, Laura Robson and Heather Watson, both ranked in the WTA Top 50 for the first time since July 1987.
The BT Sport deal is for four years and includes the five elite WTA tournaments: Indian Wells, Miami, Madrid, Beijing and Istanbul. During the 2013 season, the rights will be held jointly with previous holder Eurosport, but from 2014 will be exclusively owned by BT Sport.
Simon Green, head of BT Sport, comments: “This is our first women’s sport for the channels and we see a genuine opportunity to really develop the exposure for women’s sport with our new channels. We are focusing on several more women’s sports and we hope to be able to announce more rights soon.
“Women’s tennis is the highest profile women’s sport, attracting a global audience of 185 million viewers. It’s a good moment for the British women, with Laura and Heather starting to challenge for honours. We want to follow their story over the next few years, as well as showcasing the world’s best players in the tournaments that help determine their world rankings.”