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Eurosport is reportedly close to agreeing a deal that would see it become the first commercial broadcaster to be allowed to air live UK coverage of Wimbledon this summer.
The Discovery-owned pay-TV channel has finalised details with the All England Lawn Tennis Club, which holds the rights to the Wimbledon tournament, to broadcast the tournament from 2016 to 2020. As part of the deal Eurosport has held talks with the BBC and broadcasting regulator Ofcom to gain consent.
Under the deal Eurosport will simultaneously broadcast live coverage of the final with the BBC and also air evening highlights (timed not to clash with the BBC’s own nightly round-up).
Separately, Eurosport has also agreed a deal to air Wimbledon in Russia and the Ukraine. It already broadcasts the tournament in Belgium.
The BBC has aired Wimbledon for some eight decades, but with increasing pressure on the licence fee it has been looking to make savings with tie-ups with commercial broadcasters.