DARTS: BBC and ESPN to continue shared BDO World Championship coverage

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BBC Sport and ESPN have reached an agreement with the British Darts Organisation (BDO) to share coverage of the 2013 Lakeside World Professional Darts Championships.

In a similar arrangement to 2012, the BBC will broadcast live coverage of the afternoon sessions on weekends, including exclusive coverage of the final, while ESPN will screen all the evening sessions and the second semi-final exclusively live.

Dutchman Christian Kist will return to the famous Lakeside Country Club in Frimley Green to defend the title he claimed with a thrilling 7-5 victory over England’s Tony O’Shea in the 2012 final.

Next year’s BDO World Championships begin on January 5, 2013 and conclude on January 13, with every dart thrown across all nine days live on BBC TV and ESPN.

The BBC, who have shown every BDO World Championship since its inception in 1978, will screen exclusive live coverage of the afternoon sessions of the tournament over the opening weekend of January 5-6 2013.

There will be extended afternoon highlights on BBC Two from Monday, January 7, to Friday, January 11, plus late-night highlights of the evening session on BBC Two, as well as additional action via the BBC Sport website.

Additionally, the first semi-final will be broadcast live on the BBC on Saturday, January 12, plus exclusive live coverage of 2013 BDO World Championship final on Sunday, January 13.

Subscription broadcaster ESPN will again have the majority of the live action, including both evening sessions of the opening weekend of January 5-6, plus every weekday evening session from January 7-11 exclusively live.

Its coverage will also include the second semi-final exclusively live on Saturday, January 12, and extended highlights of the final shortly after its conclusion on Sunday, January 13.

ESPN will also feature extensive action from the BDO Women’s World Championship, including live coverage of the final on Saturday, January 12, plus selected matches from the earlier rounds.

Highlights of key matches from the women’s tournament will be featured in the BBC’s highlights programmes.

This is in response to the criticism during last year’s Lakeside that ESPN neglected to cover the women’s tournament.

After a successful petition of more than 2,000 signatures, the BDO were pressured into letting the BBC screen the women’s final on the Red Button.

Colin Murray will present the BBC’s BDO World Championship coverage for the fourth year running, and will once again be joined by two-time BDO World Championship runner-up Bobby George.

ESPN’s coverage will be led again by Ray Stubbs, presenter of both the BDO World Championships and the Winmau World Masters for several years during his time with the BBC.

All of ESPN’s discussion and analysis will come live from the Lakeside, capturing the environment and connecting viewers to the unique atmosphere of live darts.

Commentary will again be shared by both broadcasters.

Veteran darts commentator Tony Green, who returns to cover his 35th BDO championships, being joined by Vassos Alexander, and Jim Proudfoot, who joins the team for 2013 and replaces David Croft.

Simon Potter, senior director, programming, ESPN, Europe, Middle East and Africa, said: “Our first year broadcasting the competition this past January was a great success.

“We’re looking forward to being part of the wonderful atmosphere and excitement at the Lakeside as we continue to broaden our offering of live darts alongside other sports.”

BDO chairman Barry Gilbey said: “We are absolutely delighted at the extent and diversity of the combined coverage from ESPN and BBC for the 2013 World Pro.

“Not only does it provide a fitting celebration of the BDO’s 40th Anniversary Year (1973-2013) but we have an exciting line-up of players, including one of the strongest fields ever assembled for the Women’s World Championship – which is why everyone will be delighted that ESPN is screening the 2013 Women’s Final live on January 12.”

Philip Bernie, Head TV Sport, BBC said: “We are delighted to be showing  the World Professional Darts Championship once again on BBC TV , and look forward greatly to its unique mix of top Darts action, great entertainment and a wonderful atmosphere.”

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