BBC pots major championships

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The Independent Online
Snooker

The World Professional Billiards and Association yesterday announced a five-year deal with the BBC, believed to be worth around pounds 17.5m, for the rights to cover four major events - the Embassy World Championship, the Royal Liver Assurance UK Championship, the Benson and Hedges Masters and the Grand Prix.

The WPBSA were keen that the game should be available to the majority of television viewers and not confined to those who pay for a satellite channel. ITV made no bid and a Sky spokesman said that although they were involved in talks, no firm offer was made.

Jonathan Martin, head of BBC Sport, said: "We are delighted to maintain our long and successful relationship with a sport which continues to hold such a wide appeal, particularly the world championship, which is firmly established in the portfolio of top sporting events."

The BBC's coverage of the Royal Liver Assurance UK Championship at Preston begins tomorrow.

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