The BBC continues to forge ahead with its strategy to extend as many of its current sports rights deals as possible, with the announcement that it will keep coverage of the Badminton Horse Trials for another four years.
The new agreement, which covers the period 2017 - 2020 inclusive, continues a long-standing relationship between the BBC and the world-famous Badminton Horse Trials, which goes back decades.
The deal gives the BBC live network coverage of the Sunday events and Red Button output of the Cross Country events on the Saturday.
Barbara Slater, Director of BBC Sport, says:
“The Badminton Horse Trials is one of the most prestigious events in the equestrian calendar, and we are really pleased that we can continue our coverage of this important sporting event. With Rio 2016 just around the corner, there’s no better time to reinforce our commitment to one of the most treasured Olympics sports.”
Hugh Thomas, Director of Badminton Horse Trials, says:
“This is the 60th anniversary of the BBC covering Badminton, and I am delighted that that they have confirmed four more years."
The 2016 Badminton Horse Trials continue until 8th May, and there will be live coverage on the BBC on 7th and 8th May.
One of several rights extensions
Within the past two weeks, the BBC has announced broadcast rights extensions for the London Marathon and Triple Crown Snooker, with many sports rights now secured to around 2020.
Last year, the BBC was forced to drop several high profile events, including Formula 1 and live coverage of The Open, after the corporation was forced to cut £150 million a year from its budget due to too many viewers using the iPlayer loophole to view BBC content without paying a TV licence. In addition, the BBC has been told it must make a further £800 million of cuts each year by the end of the decade, as it takes on the cost of offering free TV licences for the over 75s from the DWP.
With income from commercial sources under threat, following Government plans to force the commercial arm of the BBC to sell its stake in UKTV and hand over money to HM Treasury, the future of sport on the BBC beyond 2020 remains extremely uncertain.