ESPN struck a new 12-year deal with All-England Lawn Tennis Club that expands the company’s ability to show the iconic Wimbledon tennis championships to sports fans who may be gravitating to forms of video other than traditional TV.
The new pact, which begins with the 2024 Championships and extends through 2035, calls for more matches to be shown on both ESPN’s Disney sibling ABC, as well as on ESPN Plus, its subscription broadband service, Variety reports. Under terms of the deal, ESPN Plus will live-stream all courts at Wimbledon during the event and will be the only outlet to feature full replays for all matches. AELTC will also make available live coverage of qualifying rounds as well as archival material such as films, classic matches, highlight shows and press conferences. ESPN, ESPN2 and ABC will continue to show 140 hours of coverage, with a new coterie of live coverage on ABC in the middle of the tournament — which will start next year, two years in advance of the next contract.
“Wimbledon is a tentpole event on the global sports calendar and the ESPN schedule, and we will continue to use all our resources to present the drama, tradition and stories of Wimbledon to fans in all ways possible,” said Burke Magnus, president of programming and original content for ESPN, in a statement. ESPN first acquired partial rights to Wimbledon with the 2003 Championships and obtained exclusivity to the entire tournament starting in 2012.
The new agreement is the latest in a series of new deals navigated by the Disney-owned sports-media giant. In recent months, ESPN has renewed long-term rights deals with both Major League Baseball and the National Football League, and set up a new pact with the National Hockey League that brings that sport on to ESPN for the first time in years.