Wimbledon deny BT Sport deal

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Wimbledon have moved quickly to deny that some early-round matches of the prestigious tournament could be viewable on pay-per-view channels only. 

According to a report in The Times senior officials at the BBC have explored the possibility of sharing coverage in order to divide the cost of broadcasting the competition. 

However this has been denied by figures at the All-England club, who insist any decision about where the matches are broadcast lie with the organisers of the tournament and not with the BBC.

Stunning statistics

The BBC are the host broadcasters and have covered Wimbledon for over 80 years, with a current contract in place with tournament organisers that was devised in 2011 and expires in 2017. 

During that time they have regularly drawn in huge numbers every year, with this year's audience peaking at 10million people during the final between Novak Djokovic and Roger Federer back in July.

The ladies final drew in 3.1million whilst the global cumulative audience is estimated at 378.8m people across 198 territories, but that number could decrease if the tournament moves away from terrestrial television.

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Terrestrial tar-rah?

If the BBC do opt to end their lengthy relationship with the All-England club then it would be the latest blow for terrestrial television in this era of digital television. 

Many key sporting events have become less accessible via terrestrial television, with key events such as the Ashes, the French Open and Ryder Cup all only viewable on pay-per-view channels.

Champions League football is also set to follow that trend, with BT Sport having agreed exclusive rights on the competition with a bumper deal earlier this year, ending ITV's years of broadcasting football's biggest club competition. 

Future hope

Wimbledon remains one of the few sports unaffected by the digital age, and should remain that way despite BT's lingering interest.

The viewing figures that help make the tournament the most prestigious on the ATP Tour would only decrease if the rights were sold on, and that the doors have not been swung open for BT just yet is a positive thing for everybody involved within sport and broadcasting alike. 

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Roger Federer
Novak Djokovic
Andy Murray
US Open Tennis

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