British Eurosport will become the new home of Davis Cup tennis after signing a two-year deal to broadcast exclusive coverage of the World Group ties.
The Pan-European channel takes over the rights to screen the elite matches from Sky Sports, and will cover a tie from each stage of the prestigious competition through to the final in 2012 and 2013.
In a separate deal, the broadcaster will screen live coverage of Great Britain’s Davis Cup ties in the Europe/Africa Zone Group One throughout 2012, including their first round tie against Slovakia at Glasgow’s Braehead Arena on February 10-12.
In addition, they will also show the Fed Cup Final, the women’s equivalent, and the Hopman Cup during the two-year period.
The deal follows on from British Eurosport’s live coverage of Great Britain’s 2011 ties against Luxembourg and Hungary, and adds to the channel’s impressive portfolio of tennis rights.
British Eurosport is currently providing extensive coverage of the Australian Open from Melbourne, and also screens action from the WTA Tour and selected ATP events throughout the year, as well as the leading British grass court tournaments in the lead up to Wimbledon, and coverage of selected matches at the US Open.
“We’re thrilled to be able to bring Eurosport viewers the unique drama of the Davis Cup,” said David Kerr, Managing Director of Eurosport UK.
“Novak Djokovic and Rafael Nadal provided some magical moments in recent finals and there’s sure to be more great drama and emotion in this year’s matches.”
British Eurosport took over the rights to screen Great Britain’s Davis Cup ties from the BBC in 2010, and the broadcaster will show its fourth tie involving the British team, captained by Leon Smith, in February.
“Following our broadcast of Great Britain’s successful campaign last year, we’re delighted to once again bring coverage of GB’s Davis Cup ties in what is an important year for the team as they seek qualification into the top tier, the elite World Group,” said Kerr.
“Added to our exclusive coverage of the World Group ties, Fed Cup final and Hopman Cup secured for the next two years, UK tennis fans will be able to enjoy a stronger than ever tennis offer on British Eurosport.”
The LTA’s Lawrence Robertson said: “This announcement is further indication of Eurosport’s commitment to tennis in the UK adding to their coverage of the LTA’s series of grass court events in the summer.
“We’re delighted to be able to partner with Eurosport to offer British tennis fans the opportunity to watch the AEGON GB Davis Cup Team throughout the course of what we hope will be a very successful season for Leon Smith’s team.”
The Davis Cup is one of the oldest annual sporting competitions and features more than 130 competing nations. Only 16 of them make up the elite World Group each year, and they will go head-to-head for a quarter-final place in the 2012 edition on February 10-12.
Eurosport will cover Great Britain’s Group One tie against Slovakia live from Glasgow on the opening weekend, in conjunction with extended highlights of the World Group tie between Switzerland and the United States from Fribourg.
Defending champions Spain will face World Group debutants Kazakhstan in their first round match, while last year’s beaten finalists Serbia host Sweden.
Commenting on the new two-year partnership with British Eurosport, the ITF’s commercial director Jan Menneken said: “We look forward to working with British Eurosport to televise World Group and British Davis Cup matches, the Fed Cup Final and the Hopman Cup.
“This arrangement provides great exposure for the ITF’s major team competitions and gives British fans the chance to watch both the British team’s 2012 Davis Cup campaign and matches from the elite World Group for the next two years on British Eurosport.”
British Eurosport’s live coverage of the Davis Cup will also be streamed live via Eurosport Player, the channel’s online subscription service.
Davis Cup by BNP Paribas 2012 – Live on British EurosportWorld Group – First Round February 10-12 Spain (1) v Kazakhstan Austria v Russia (8) Canada v France (4) Switzerland v United States (6) – Extended Highlights on Eurosport Czech Republic (5) v Italy Serbia (3) v Sweden Japan v Croatia (7) Germany v Argentina (2) Europe/Africa Zone Group 1 February 10-12 Great Britain v Slovakia – Live on Eurosport (Winner plays Belgium on April 6-8) .