Bbc Wins Wimbledon Contract

By: Leah Bransko

The BBC has successfully managed to secure the rights to broadcast Wimbledon (www.wimbledon.org) until 2014, in a deal that will see them overhaul their coverage of the tennis event for the digital age.

Wimbledon is an internationally renowned sporting event that's famed for its Chelford 52 tennis courts, Pimms, rain, and of course, Cliff Richard who nearly always seems to be in attendance. The BBC has covered Wimbledon since 1927, so maintaining the rights is seen as a major victory for the broadcaster.

The BBC's retention of Wimbledon has come as a shock to rival broadcasters who had expected the event's organisers, the All England Club, to put their broadcast rights out to tender for the first time.

The BBC's new five-year deal with the All England Club permits them to screen tennis matches via their on demand and iPlayer service for up to seven days after they have been played. This means that tennis-mad viewers will be able to watch matches via broadband and even on their mobile phones. The Wimbledon deal is also said to grant the BBC exclusive radio rights.

BBC Sport Director Roger Mosley promised that the BBC's dedication to new technology would make coverage of Wimbledon the most extensive ever. He said: "The BBC is deeply proud of its historic ties with Wimbledon, but this new agreement is focused on delivering state-of-the-art digital services. We're determined to make the event an even bigger part of our national sporting life through the use of new technology and working with the club to innovate across digital platforms."

Chief executive of the All England Club Ian Ritchie was also positive about the new deal. He said: "Our lengthy partnership with the BBC, which started in 1927, has been highly successful and we are delighted to extend that association up to 2014. We are always looking to bring the championships to a wider audience at the same time as improving the overall quality of the coverage."

Just last week, the BBC paid around ?160 million for the broadcast rights to Formula One, after rivals ITV were forced to drop out of the race in order to secure the rights to live Champions League football until 2012.

The BBC also has a contract with Six Nations rugby until 2013, which means that it now boasts an substantial selection of programmes for sports fans, despite a distinct lack of football coverage. The BBC's lack of football coverage is because it failed to bid for the live rights to the Champions League matches and lost the rights to broadcast FA Cup and England international games to rival ITV and specialist sports channel Setanta.

In other tennis news, Scottish player Andy Murray has admitted that he is learning to control his temper on the court. He said: "It's a question of keeping control of my feelings and emotions during a match, which you have to learn to do when you get a bit older. When I do, I think I will be a better player." Perhaps this means that we can expect a much calmer player when he appears at this year's Wimbledon.

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