BBC Sport has extended its commitment to screen free-to-air coverage of the British Darts Organisation’s World Professional Championships until 2016.
The new deal was announced on the eve of the 2013 tournament beginning at the famous Lakeside Country Club in Frimley Green, and will extend the BBC’s long-standing partnership with the BDO to almost 40 years.
From 2014, when the BBC’s new TV deal begins, the Lakeside World Professional Championships will be expanded for the first time to include 40 men and 16 women.
“This is wonderful news for the BDO, its players and the millions of darts fans who tune in to watch the BBC’s outstanding coverage,” says Sue Williams, BDO Chairperson.
“The BBC is the premier broadcaster in the world, and we are proud that they have screened every World Professional Darts Championship annually since 1978.
“We are delighted to be celebrating the 40th Anniversary of the BDO with the continuation of the best and only free-to-view terrestrial TV coverage for World Darts.”
Since 1994 there have been two rival world championships, with the Professional Darts Corporation (PDC) version screened by Sky Sports.
While the PDC has nine major UK televised tournaments throughout the calendar year, the BDO in comparison only has two – the World Championships and the Winmau World Masters.
Barbara Slater, Director BBC Sport added: “The World Darts Championships are an important part of our sports rights portfolio and we look forward to bringing our audiences this great tournament through to 2016.”
Precise details regarding the breadth of the BBC’s coverage from 2014 onwards have yet to announced.
The corporation currently shares live coverage of the competition with ESPN, but the future of the subscription broadcaster’s UK operation is in doubt beyond the summer once their Premier League rights deal expires.
.Lakeside World Professional Championships 2013 LIVE on BBC Sport & ESPN from January 5-13 CLICK HERE for details