Wimbledon now has a new home on U.S. television: ESPN has secured a 12-year deal to broadcast all of the British tennis tournament's matches beginning in 2012, including the men's and women's singles championships. The deal ousts NBC, who had previously aired the championships for the last 43 years and had been subject to complaints for not airing some matches live. From the press release, it looks like ESPN will also expand coverage online with additional hours of streaming matches on ESPN3.com:
Ian Ritchie, Chief Executive of The All England Lawn Tennis Club, said: "We are delighted to be extending our partnership with ESPN, in a move which will consolidate our U.S. media rights under the auspices of a single partner. This new agreement will bring increased live coverage of The Championships and ensure that the huge international audience for Wimbledon can now enjoy all the drama and colour of the Fortnight through a sustained narrative delivered with clarity, continuity and consistency across a wide range of platforms.'
Last month, the sports media giant was among the suitors who unsuccessfully bid to host the next four Olympic games. NBC eventually nabbed the estimated $4.4 billion dollar deal to broadcast the games, and ESPN responded by saying in a statement that "To go any further would not have made good business sense for us."