British firm BT to broadcast women's tennis
BT, the telecoms company that is entering Britain's competitive sports television market, said on Friday that it had signed a deal to broadcast top women's tennis over the next four years.
"BT Sport has signed a deal with the Women's Tennis Association (WTA) to show as much as 800 hours per year of live tennis featuring the best women players in the world, including the season-ending showpiece TEB BNP Paribas WTA Championships," the British company said in a statement.
"BT has chosen to invest in women's tennis as it seeks to widen the appeal of its new sports channels, which will launch this summer," it added, without disclosing any financial details of the deal.
The four-year agreement includes the five elite WTA Masters tournaments – Indian Wells, Miami, Madrid, Beijing and the Istanbul season-ender.
During the 2013 season, the rights will be held jointly with previous holder Eurosport, but from 2014 they will be exclusively owned by BT Sport.
BT last year secured the live broadcast rights to 38 English Premier League football matches a season from 2013-14, paying £246 million ($397 million, 298 million euros) per season.
The 2012 Olympic Games media centre was meanwhile set to become its broadcasting hub, after BT recently agreed a 10-year lease for the centre.
BT will be competing with established British pay-TV satellite broadcaster Sky and cable giant Virgin Media to attract sports fans.