BT Sport is to broadcast live squash for the first time after signing a deal to screen the forthcoming AJ Bell British Squash Grand Prix in Manchester.
Mohamed Elshorbagy, Gregory Gaultier and England’s Nick Matthew, the three highest ranked players in the world, will all be competing across the four-day 16-man tournament, which one of the most eagerly contested events on the PSA’s world tour calendar.
BT Sport will screen extensive coverage of the tournament at the National Squash Centre from the quarter-finals stages onwards on Saturday, December 7, through to the final on Monday, December 8.
Live coverage consists of the opening two quarter-finals on Saturday afternoon on BT Sport 2, followed by the final on Monday evening, which will be shown on ESPN from 7.00pm, while extended highlights of the remaining quarter-finals and semi-finals will air on BT Sport 2 on Saturday and Sunday night respectively.
The deal with BT Sport is a further endorsement of squash’s growing appeal following the unprecedented success of last year’s World Squash Championship, which were also staged in Manchester last year and televised by the BBC.
The main draw action gets underway at the National Squash Centre on Friday, December 5, with a number of exciting encounters set to take place, with all 16 players vying to progress to the BT-televised stages over the weekend.
English duo Peter Barker and Daryl Selby face dangerous first round encounters against Chris Simpson and Mathieu Castagnet respectively, while three-time World Champion Nick Matthew, winner of the British Grand Prix in 2006 and 2012, will begin his campaign against a qualifier.
Matthew is seeded to meet the winner of the Selby/Castagnet encounter in the quarter-finals, with a potential re-match with Frenchman Gregory Gaultier, the man he beat to the 2013 World Championship crown, likely to await in the semi-final stage.
World number one Mohamed Elshorbagy from Egypt is seeded to meet fellow countryman Tarek Momen in the quarter-finals, with the winner likely to face Borja Golan, Adrian Waller or Miguel Angel Rodriguez, who all feature prominently on the same half of the draw.
Commenting on the TV deal with BT Sport, Paul Walters of event promoters internationalSPORTgroup said: “Having BT Sport on board is a major boost for the AJ Bell British Squash Grand Prix and the sport in general.
“Alongside title sponsor AJ Bell and Manchester City Council we have invested considerable resource and time over the past year in pulling together the right package of domestic TV which will help enhance the status of the event.
“We are grateful for the help and support of recently formed FozMuz agency for their considerable help in finalising this agreement.”
Billy Mackay, Marketing Director for investment platform provider AJ Bell, added: “Squash continues to grow in popularity on the back of a successful 2013 World Championship and the recent Commonwealth Games.
“The people involved in the sport have worked hard to make it a great experience for all viewers watching live at the event or on TV.
“We are delighted to once again work with Manchester City Council and internationalSPORTgroup to put on what we know will be a fantastic event for all sports fans.”
Alongside BT Sport, the whole tournament will be shown live in its entirety on the PSA’s subscription service SquashTV via psasquashtv.com.
Visit the official PSA World Tour website for more information about the 2014 AJ Bell British Squash Grand Prix.
Saturday 6th December
DAY 2: Quarter Finals
LIVE: 1.00pm-3.00pm BT Sport 2
Highlights: 10.30pm-1.00am BT Sport 2
Sunday 7th December
DAY 3: Semi Finals
Highlights: 10.30pm-1.00am BT Sport 2
Sunday 8th December
DAY 4: Final
LIVE: 7.00pm-9.00pm ESPN