Channel 4 agrees two-year deal to broadcast BDO World Darts Championships

A general view of the Lakeside venue (credit:Darts.tv)

Channel 4 will become the new terrestrial home of BDO Darts after penning a two-year deal to broadcast the Lakeside World Championship alongside BT Sport.

The future of the British Darts Organisation's flagship event had been jeapardised after the BBC ended their longstanding coverage in 2016, but a deal has been thrashed out to ensure Channel 4 will broadcast live darts until at least 2018. 

Channel 4 have been handed exclusive rights to broadcast the afternoon sessions of the Men's and Women's championships live from Frimley Green, in addition to one of the Semi-Finals and the Women's Final. 

All evening sessions will be aired on BT Sport alongside one of the Semi-Finals, while the Men’s Final will be shown live on both channels.

Stephen Lyle, Commissioning Editor, Sport at Channel 4 said: "We are delighted to agree this deal which sees Channel 4 become the home of BDO Darts on terrestrial TV, adding another popular sport to our schedules and keeping it free-to-air for fans. Darts is a British sporting institution and we look forward to bringing our unique Channel 4 approach to coverage of the Championships."

Scott Waites of England celebrates with the trophy (Photo by Jordan Mansfield/Getty Images)
The BDO was dealt a major blow after the BBC ended their 38-year involvement with the historic competition at the beginning of the year, but now looks to have been handed a fresh lifeline.

BDO Chairman Sue Williams said: "We took considerable care in selecting our broadcast partner and we are delighted that Channel 4 is that partner. Through its channels and BT Sport, all the sessions will be shown live with additional highlights shows and innovative content online. 

"We were particularly pleased with Channel 4's fresh approach and new ideas and the track record they have for this with other sports in their portfolio. We believe this will appeal to a broader demographic of viewers.

"This is an excellent partnership for the BDO, both commercially and in terms of the right strategic partner to further strengthen BDO darts."

It is believed Dave (owned by UKTV) also expressed interest in securing joint Lakeside rights following their successful coverage of May's World Trophy, though Channel 4 was the preferred option given its greater terrestrial outreach.

Earlier this year, Channel 4 announced it would be replaced as host Horse Racing broadcaster by ITV in a £30 million deal, but acted quickly to secure Formula One and Rio 2016 Paralympic coverage.

Now, it appears darts will also become a key part of its sports portfolio overhaul, with presenters and commentary team set to be announced in due course.


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Channel 4 agrees two-year deal to broadcast BDO World Darts Championships

Channel 4 will become the new terrestrial home of BDO Darts after penning a two-year deal to broadcast the Lakeside World Championship alongside BT Sport.

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