BBC contract to broadcast Wimbledon extended until 2027

The longest partnership in sports broadcasting history is to reach a century after the BBC announced it is to extend its contract to broadcast Wimbledon until 2027.

The agreement will mean the broadcaster marking 100 years of coverage from the grass court grand slam in SW19, with its first Wimbledon coverage broadcast on radio from Centre Court on 29 June 1927. That year a microphone and loudspeakers were installed on the court to broadcast the calls of the umpire. The system of seeding players in the tournament was also introduced, along with a special foot fault judge.

Next year will mark the 85th anniversary of the BBC’s televised coverage, which began in 1937 at a time when interest was high following the Briton Fred Perry’s victories in the previous three championships, though in the event the men’s final was win by the American Don Budge. Microphones had to be positioned to pick up the sound.

“Wimbledon has a special place in the hearts of the nation and with this extension we can continue our longstanding and valued partnership with the All England Club,” said Barbara Slater, the director BBC Sport. “Wimbledon on the BBC will continue to bring the nation must-see sporting moments free-to-air, captivating audiences of all ages.”

The agreement means the grand slam remains free-to-air across BBC television, online and radio. In 2019, a peak audience of 9.6 million watched the men’s singles final between Novak Djokovic and Roger Federer on BBC One.

“We are absolutely delighted to have extended our historic partnership,” said Mick Desmond, the commercial and media director at the All England Lawn Tennis Club. “The BBC is as synonymous with Wimbledon as strawberries and cream, and enables us to reach all corners of the UK through their outstanding production and network of platforms. We are really looking forward to continuing to take this relationship from strength to strength, and celebrating 100 years together in 2027.”

ESPN will continue to be the exclusive home of the Championships in the US under the terms of a new 12-year-agreement with the All England Lawn Tennis Club. ESPN, ESPN2 and ABC will continue to present coverage over the fortnight, and add live coverage on ABC of play on the middle weekend of the event, with matches being held on “middle Sunday” from next year.

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