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Exciting Wimbledon news

Roger Mosey | 12:31 UK time, Wednesday, 26 March 2008

We've just been having a look at the audience figures for this year's Six Nations - and the provisional statistics suggest it was another big hit with our audiences.

A total of 30.3m people in the UK - that's 54% of the entire population - saw some of the Six Nations on BBC television; and we had a great response too to our radio coverage and to our new media services - ranging from the live streaming and highlights on this website to the full match replays on the BBC iPlayer.

These major events are crucial for the BBC: they're part of our public service remit to bring the nation together for the biggest sporting events - and we were delighted last autumn to renew our contract with the Six Nations up to and including 2013. Last week, of course, we also revealed the return of F1 to the BBC portfolio with a pleasingly enthusiastic response on our blogs and message boards.

Today we have similarly good news about another of the UK's great sporting institutions - Wimbledon. We're announcing this afternoon that the BBC has secured a new five-year deal with the All England Club that guarantees Wimbledon will be on BBC television, radio and online through to 2014.

We are, of course, proud of our historic ties with Wimbledon. Our radio relationship goes back to 1927, and we first broadcast live tennis on television in 1937. But this new agreement is also about ensuring that we have cutting-edge digital services that can showcase Wimbledon for the 21st century.

wimbledon_getty.jpg

So for the first time Wimbledon will be available on the iPlayer and on mobile devices; and we're committing to Wimbledon having a central role in the BBC HD channel. This will all be supported by more choice than ever before on the BBC's broadband services - being able to pick the court you want to watch on your PC - and on interactive television.

We're genuinely excited about the possibilities for Wimbledon in the coming years of BBC coverage. One of the things we've promised to do is make the big events even bigger - and we believe we're doing that with the Six Nations, that we'll be able to do the same with F1 and we'll deliver it in spades for the coming Olympic Games and the World Cups of 2010 and 2014.

The world-class tennis at Wimbledon is something that already attracts tens of millions of viewers each year, but we hope by making it available whenever and wherever you want it we can keep those numbers growing - well into the next decade.

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