BT Sport has increased the pressure on sports TV rights costs with a deal to screen 800 hours of women’s tennis.
The agreement with the Women’s Tennis Association, which includes the season-ending showpiece TEB BNP Paribas WTA Championships, is the channel’s first foray into women’s sport following high-profile football and rugby acquisitions.
The BT Sport deal is for four years and includes the five elite WTA tournaments – Indian Wells, Miami, Madrid, Beijing and Istanbul. During the 2013 season, the UK rights will be held jointly with previous holder Eurosport, but from 2014 will be exclusively owned by BT Sport.
Simon Green, head of BT Sport, said: “This is our first women’s sport for the channels and we see a genuine opportunity to really develop the exposure for women’s sport with our new channels. We are focusing on several more women’s sports and we hope to be able to announce more rights soon.
BT Sport will broadcast from iCITY, the former International Broadcast Centre at the Queen Elizabeth Olympic Park in Stratford.