British athletes just can’t seem to catch a break, but broadcasters continue to reap rewards from those taking part in major sporting events. Euro 2012 gave BBC One and ITV1 strong ratings (even after England lost to Italy in the quarterfinals) and on Sunday, BBC One scored with Andy Murray’s Wimbledon final loss to Roger Federer. At a peak, 16.9M viewers tuned in to the four-set match as Scotsman Murray, the first Brit to reach the finals at Wimbledon since Bunny Austin in 1938, lost to Federer, who tied Pete Sampras’ record for 7 wins on the venerable grass courts. According to The Guardian, the 16.9M peak, a 67.9% market share, was the biggest audience since at least 1990 and set a record for a British player. On average, 11.4M watched BBC One’s more than 5 hours of Wimbledon coverage on Sunday for 58% of the audience.
ESPN has acquired all U.S. broadcast rights to Wimbledon, the network announced today, outbidding NBC, which has televised tennis’ highest-profile tournament for the past 43 years and the men’s and women’s finals for the past 32 years. The 12-year deal begins with next year’s event and all the coverage will be live — NBC has taken some heat in the past for tape-delaying key matches for American viewers. Matches will be shown on ESPN, ESPN2, the network’s streaming web service ESPN3 as well as on ABC, where selected coverage will be delayed. By 2023, the network said coverage will increase to more than 140 hours. “We are proud to have been a partner of The All England Club the past nine years and are thrilled to be given continuing responsibility for honoring Wimbledon’s rich tradition,” ESPN and ABC Sports president George Bodenheimer said. “Over the next 12 years, we’ll work closely together to move coverage of this great event forward with live coverage on television and using all the latest technologies and screens.” ESPN has had rights to early-round matches since 2003.
Hannah Storm has signed a multi-year extension with ESPN. Storm co-hosts the 9 a.m. to noon ET edition of ESPN’s flagship news program SportsCenter with Josh Elliott. As part of the extension, Storm expands her responsibilities beyond her initial SportsCenter role to include on-site studio hosting duties from events such as the Super Bowl, NBA Finals, Wimbledon and the US Open. In addition, Storm continues her role as host of NBA coverage, including on ABC and ESPN. Storm also has hosted ESPN Sports Saturday on ABC which debuted in 2010. During the NFL season, she hosts the Sunday morning edition of SportsCenter, leading into Sunday NFL Countdown. She will continue to co-host the Tournament of Roses Parade on ABC. This past September, Storm made her debut as a film producer on ESPN’s documentary Unmatched about the rivalry and friendship between Chris Evert and Martina Navratilova. Storm will next be directing a short film for Women’s World Cup, which will air later this year.