New TV deal for BDO World Championship likely to be announced as early as today

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Picture: David Gill

A new television deal for the BDO’s World Championship could be announced as early as today, with a press statement regarding the tournament to be released before the end of this week.

Following the BDO’s AGM, which was held at the Village Hotel in Walsall last Sunday, rumours have circulated that British free-to-air broadcaster Channel 4 is in line to snap up coverage of the 2017 staging of the organisation’s flagship event.

Chairman of the BDO, Sue Williams, who it has been reported received 58 out of 66 votes to stay on the organisation’s board during the AGM, told Darts Weekly on Sunday evening: “There will be a press statement made regarding the World Championship this week.”

As we went to press last night, the BDO had yet to release a press statement, but one would assume it will be announcing a TV deal has been agreed for the tournament.

In December last year, the Daily Mail reported that the BBC were going to axe its coverage of the BDO World Championship after the 2016 staging of the tournament in January.

And in early February it was announced that the broadcaster declined to renew its contract with the BDO, thus ending a 38-year relationship between the two.

“A statement about next year’s World Championship will be made this week”

At the same time, the BBC had struck a deal with the PDC to screen the inaugural Champions League of Darts, which takes place in Cardiff next month.

The two-day event will be the first PDC tournament to be shown on the BBC, while for the BDO it has left them scrambling to find a new broadcaster to screen its biggest tournament of the year.

The rumour linking the BDO with the Channel 4, which has been circulating since Sunday, is not the first time the two have been connected together with a TV deal in mind.

Back in April reports suggested that Channel 4 were in talks to broadcast the BDO World Championship next year, while BT Sport and Dave were also believed to have been interested.

BT Sport shared coverage of the tournament with the BBC in 2015 and 2016, while Dave stepped in at the last minute to broadcast the World Trophy in May this year.

Whether Dave has the resources to dedicate itself to showing nine days of uninterrupted coverage for the BDO World Championship remains to be seen, but if Channel 4 were to strike a deal with the BDO then they could show some of the sessions on their sister channels More4 and E4.

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