BBC Sport has announced it is to screen regular coverage of the FIBT Skeleton World Cup in the build up to the 2014 Sochi Winter Olympics.
Following a strong start to the 2013/14 Olympic season for Team GB’s skeleton athletes, British Skeleton has agreed a new partnership with the BBC to screen coverage of the sport’s top events for the first time in its history.
Highlights of the remaining races will be shown in a regular Sunday early evening slot on BBC Red Button from January 5, following on from BBC Two’s airing of the winter sports flagship Ski Sunday programme, which brings in audiences close to 1.5m viewers.
In a boost to UK coverage of winter sports ahead of the Sochi Olympic Games, now less than 50 days away, the deal has been struck in light of Great Britain’s fast start to the 2013/14 season.
Lizzy Yarnold and Shelley Rudman are currently numbers one and two in the world respectively in the women’s event, while Dominic Parsons current occupies the world number seven in the men’s category at the halfway point.
After racing in North America prior to Christmas, the action now switches to Europe and culminates in the all–important selection of the Great Britain squad for Sochi 2014.
Commenting on the deal, British Skeleton’s commercial director David Henwood said: “We are so grateful to the BBC for giving our athletes the exposure they deserve in the build up to Sochi.
“They are not only sliding really well, they are all incredible characters – with very different stories and backgrounds – and all united in our aim to make Great Britain the number 1 sliding nation in World Skeleton.
“Theirs is certainly a story worth seeing by a bigger audience following.”
Skeleton has been Great Britain’s most successful sport over the last three Winter Olympics.
Amy Williams won gold in Vancouver four years ago, while Rudman claimed silver in Turin back in 2006 and Alex Coomber bronze at Salt Lake City 2002.
BBC Sport’s coverage of Skeleton World Cup events will be shown on BBC Red Button following each edition of Ski Sunday on BBC Two and BBC Two HD.
In February 2014, the BBC is set to offer winter sports fans its most comprehensive coverage of a Winter Olympics Games ever.
Over 200 hours of network TV coverage is set to be delivered to audiences, plus there will be up to six online streams covering all events live to ensure fans don’t miss a single moment.
In the build-up to Sochi 2014, UK skeleton and bobsleigh fans can follow live action from World Cup events online this season via the new bobskeleTV digital stream, which launched this season, via www.fibt.com.
Previously skeleton and bobsleigh events were covered by British Eurosport, but this deal came to end last season after the International Bobsleigh and Skeleton Federation decided to change its focus and instead provide its own coverage online.
British Eurosport is also home to a plethora of other top winter sports events in the run-up to Sochi, including alpine skiing, ski jumping, biathlon, figure skating, freestyle skiing and luge.