SNOOKER: BBC Sport retains World Snooker rights

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The BBC will continue to be the home of world snooker after signing a new deal to broadcast the sport’s biggest domestic tournaments until at least 2017, extending the current agreement by a further three years.

The corporation will continue to cover the World Championship, UK Championship and the Masters until at least the end of the 2016/17 season, and there is also the option to continue with one further event after 2014, ensuring the sport’s biggest events stay on terrestrial television.

BBC Sport will continue to act as host broadcaster for all three events, which will be given extensive network coverage throughout the UK on BBC One, BBC Two, BBC Red Button and online via the BBC Sport website.

All programmes will continue to be made available to watch online and on-demand on BBC iPlayer.

World Snooker Chairman Barry Hearn said: “This is wonderful news for the many millions of snooker fans throughout the UK who love watching the sport on the BBC.

“This season there are over 260 hours of coverage of snooker on the BBC which is a fantastic amount.

“Last year’s World Championship was watched by 28.5 million people which proves what a wide appeal there is for snooker.

“The World Championship, the UK Championship and the Masters are among the highlights of the sporting calendar so it’s terrific that they will remain on terrestrial television.

“Snooker has made huge progress in recent years and is growing rapidly as a worldwide sport.

“The BBC remains one of our most important partners and we look forward to many years working with them.”

BBC Two’s coverage of Ronnie O’Sullivan’s World Championship final victory in 2012 attracted an audience of 2.1m viewers.

World number one and UK Champion Mark Selby told World Snooker: “Everyone’s first memories of snooker are watching the big events on the BBC so it’s great for the players and fans to know that those tournaments will remain on terrestrial TV for at least the next four years.”

Barbara Slater, Director of BBC Sport, added: ‘The World Snooker Championships are an important part of our sports rights portfolio and we’re delighted to be continuing our coverage of these three major tournaments.”

The BBC will provide extensive coverage of the 2013 Betfair Masters at Alexandra Palace, which starts on Sunday, January 13.

The 2013 World Championship at Sheffield’s Crucible Theatre will take place between April 20 and May 6.

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