Snooker’s biggest tournaments will continue to be broadcast by Eurosport for the next 10 years after the pan-European channel agreed a new deal with the sport’s governing body.
The decade-long extension, negotiated with World Snooker and IMG, includes live rights to 18 tournaments per season on the World Snooker Tour on its TV channels and online services across Europe, running through to the end of 2025/26.
This includes the showpiece World Championship, currently held at Sheffield’s Crucible Theatre, as well as the Masters, UK Championship and Welsh Open, with the European network sharing live coverage of these events in the UK with the BBC until at least 2019.
In addition, the long-term agreement includes live coverage of the inaugural ‘Home Nations Series’ comprised of the Welsh Open, Scottish Open, Irish Open and English Open, with the latter three to be shown exclusively live on Eurosport in the UK.
Eurosport channels across Europe will also cover three ITV-televised events – the World Grand Prix, Players Championships and Snooker Shoot Out, but these will remain exclusive to ITV4 in the UK under the agreement.
Speaking at a press conference at the World Snooker Championship, Peter Hutton, Chief Executive Officer at Eurosport said: “Snooker has some of sport’s most ardent fans and has been a major part of Eurosport’s programming since it was first broadcast on the channel in 2003.
“Eurosport has since been a strong partner to help grow the popularity of the sport across Europe, showcasing the best competitions, providing insightful expert commentary and exceptional new programming such as ‘The Ronnie O’Sullivan Show’.
“We see excellent viewing figures for snooker and we are delighted to announce that we will continue to share the best moments from the sport with fans across the continent for the next 10 years.”
World Snooker Chairman, Barry Hearn added: “This long term deal with Eurosport is a very significant moment for our sport.
“Eurosport has played a crucial role in the rapid growth of snooker across the continent over the past 13 years, making it one of the most popular and highest-rating sports in the region.
“The players are now travelling to many corners of the continent and seeing a new-found passion among fans who might not have even heard of snooker until they saw it on Eurosport.
“We’re excited about continuing this growth over the coming decade, staging new events in the UK and around Europe, and working alongside the Eurosport team in building ever stronger foundations.”
The deal strengthens Eurosport’s position as the home of snooker across Europe, allowing fans to follow the sport’s biggest and most exciting moments live.
In addition to the live action, fans will be able to enjoy insight from leading players and personalities within the game on special programming.
There will also be enhanced match coverage on Eurosport Player, where fans will be able to choose which matches to watch from cameras covering multiple tables.
Adam Kelly, Head of Sales EMEA & Global Business Development Worldwide, SVP IMG Media, concluded: “We are pleased to have achieved our aim of ensuring both continued growth and increased awareness of the World Snooker Tour, through securing distribution with Eurosport on behalf of World Snooker.
“This extension will enable the sport to continue to benefit from the expansive coverage they offer across the region, both on their TV channels and digitally.”