British speedway will be televised on BT Sport in 2017 after the broadcaster took up the baton from rivals Sky Sports.
All eight clubs from the newly rebranded SGB Premiership, formerly known as the Elite League, will feature across 18 live shows on BT Sport, starting with the British finals in June and concluding with the end of season play-offs in the autumn.
The move means BT Sport is now the new home of all major British and international speedway events on UK television, having secured the rights to broadcast the FIM Speedway Grand Prix and FIM Speedway World Cup last year.
In contrast, the deal also brings to an end Sky Sports long-running domestic speedway coverage which ran for more than 20 years.
It is thought they declined to take up the final two years of their contract which was due to run to the end of 2018.
BT Sport has stepped in to fill the void left by its chief pay-TV sports rival, but BT’s coverage will not get underway until June, despite the season starting in April.
Commenting on the switch to BT Sport, Keith Chapman, chairman of the British Speedway Promoters’ Association, said: “We are delighted to welcome BT Sport as our broadcast partners for the 2017 season.
“They have successfully hosted both the Grand Prix and World Cup last year and we are pleased to showcase our sport alongside those tournaments on the same channel.
“We also believe this is good news for British viewers who can now see regular speedway, both at league and international level, on the same platform.
“We sincerely hope we have an exciting and entertaining season and once again show the wider audience what a thrilling spectacle the sport is.”
Terry Russell, from Go Speed International Ltd who negotiated the new deal, added: “Our thanks go to BT Sport for welcoming British Speedway into their stable of sport.
“We are extremely pleased British Speedway has a home on TV and of course it sits very nicely alongside the GP and World Cup.
“It’s good news for the sport in general and I’m sure our fans will enjoy the coverage BT Sport provide.
“There will be 18 shows throughout the summer and into the autumn, including the play-offs which always provide great drama and TV entertainment.
“We are also working hard with the clubs to make every TV meeting an exciting event, to promote it hard and make it work for everyone. These are exciting times and we look forward to working with BT Sport.”
Details of BT Sport’s live televised fixtures will be confirmed in due course, but the broadcaster will not be showing any early season fixtures live, with the eight clubs in the Premiership due to lock horns from the beginning of April.
Natalie Quirk, who presents the channel’s World Cup speedway coverage, has confirmed on social media that she will be part of the on-air covering, which will start on June 19 with the British Speedway Finals.