DARTS: BBC and ESPN to share BDO World Championship coverage

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BBC Sport will collaborate with ESPN to provide comprehensive coverage of the 2012 BDO World Professional Darts Championships.

For the first time in the tournament’s 35-year history, television coverage will be split between two broadcasters with the lion’s share of live action to be screened on the subscription channel.

The BBC will screen live and exclusive coverage of the afternoon sessions over the opening weekend of January 7th and 8th, with ESPN screening the night sessions.

Every weekday evening session from January 9th to 13th will be shown live and exclusively on ESPN, with extended afternoon and late-night highlights on BBC Two, plus extra action on the BBC Sport website.

The opening semi-final will be broadcast live by the BBC on January 14th, with ESPN screening the second straight after.

Live coverage of the 2012 Lakeside World Final will be shown exclusively on the BBC on January 15th, with highlights soon after on ESPN.

BBC coverage will be presented by Colin Murray and Bobby George and commentary for both broadcasters will come from David Croft, Tony Green and Vassos Alexander.

ESPN’s live coverage will be led by Ray Stubbs, who fronted both the Lakeside BDO World Championships and the Winmau World Masters for several years during his career with the BBC.

The addition of the 2012 World Professional Darts Championships extends ESPN’s coverage of BDO darts following its first live UK darts programming of the 2011 Winmau World Masters in September.

The deal marks the end of the BBC’s exclusive coverage that stretched back to the inaugural BDO Championships in 1978.

BBC Sport is cutting back on spending for live events following the corporation’s ‘Delivering Quality First’ cost cutting initiatives.

Barry Gilbey, Chairman BDO Enterprises Ltd says: “Both ESPN and the BBC are brand leaders in televised sport and we are delighted that the 2012 Lakeside World Professional will benefit from their combined technical expertise and know-how.

“These are exciting times for our players as the BDO moves ever forward in its mission statement to provide darts for all.”

Watch the 2011 BDO World Championship Final – Martin Adams v Dean Winstanley
Pictures: BBC Sport

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