BT broadens appeal with women’s tennis deal

UK telecommunications company BT has acquired broadcast rights for 21 events operated by the Women’s Tennis Association professional tour.

The deal will run for four years, from 2013 to 2016, and comprises four top-tier WTA Premier Mandatory events as well as the season-ending WTA Championships.

For the first year of the deal, the rights will be non-exclusive, with pan-European sports broadcaster Eurosport also having WTA tournament rights in the UK until the end of this year. For the three years from 2014 to 2016, BT’s rights will be exclusive.

The rights will be exploited on BT’s new pay-television sports channels, which will launch later this year.

Simon Green, head of BT Sport, added: “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. Women’s tennis is the highest profile women’s sport, attracting a global audience of 185 million viewers.”