Eurosport is to become the first commercial pay-TV broadcaster to air coverage of Wimbledon.
The channel – which is owned by Discovery – confirmed today that it will air its own live coverage of the gentlemens’ and ladies’ singles finals alongside that of the BBC, as well as a daily 90-minute highlights package at 10pm for the duration of the Championships.
The five-year deal was approved by media regulator Ofcom on Thursday and will not affect the BBC’s own coverage of the tournament on BBC1, BBC2 and online. The Corporation will remain the AELTC’s UK broadcast partner until at least 2020.
But the move marks the first time a pay-TV channel has broadcast matches from the All England Club, although commercial channel ITV shared live coverage with the BBC during the 1960s. Eurosport is also the only UK channel to show live coverage of all four tennis Grand Slams.
The deal marks the latest step in the Beeb’s partnership with Discovery who bought the rights to the Olympics last year, only to agree a sub-licensing deal with the BBC in February.
The 2016 Wimbledon Championships will take place between 27th June and 10th July.