The broadcaster says the new highlights deal with Athletics governing body IAAF will bring more hours of network TV coverage of the Diamond League on BBC One and BBC Two until 2017.
However, despite BBC Sport's Barbara Slater announcing that the deal is their "biggest commitment in terms of coverage of the IAAF Diamond League on network television", the announcement appears to signal less coverage overall; the BBC has in recent summers shown live coverage of all Diamond League events across BBC Three and BBC Red Button. Additionally, in 2014, two events were showcased live on BBC Two. Today's announcement only confirms extended highlights for 2016 and 2017 for the majority of Diamond League events.
The transfer of coverage away from BBC Three is being seen as part of the current wind-down of BBC Three ahead of next January's move online, a move which the BBC Executive expects to be rubber-stamped by the BBC Trust this summer.
Live coverage of UK events
The BBC has a separate deal for live coverage of the two UK Diamond League events in Birmingham (7 June 2015) and the Anniversary Games in London (24 & 25 July 2015); a deal which runs through to 2020.
Live coverage of other Diamond League events will be broadcast in the UK on British Eurosport.
BBC Director of Sport, Barbara Slater, said:
"We're delighted with this new deal which is our biggest commitment in terms of coverage of the IAAF Diamond League on network television. There is a very healthy appetite amongst our audiences for top-flight athletics and this new deal will see all 12 international events brought to the widest possible audience on BBC One and BBC Two, with a comprehensive highlights programme. The deal further strengthens the BBC’s long-term commitment to athletics as we follow the current and exciting generation of stars through the events of the year, to the World Championships in August and beyond to the Olympics Games in Rio next year and the World Championships in London in 2017.”
Lamine Diack, IAAF President and Chairman of the Board of the Diamond League, said:
“We are very proud to have a partner like the BBC to commit to such a broad coverage of our meeting series. BBC’s support is of course also great news with regard to the upcoming IAAF World Athletics Championships in London 2017 and confirms the importance of our sport in the UK.”
Diamond League coverage will also feature on BBC Radio 5 Live.