BBC and ITV secure World Cup TV rights

The BBC and ITV will share broadcast rights for coverage of the 2010 and 2014 football World Cups, after securing extensions to their existing deals with the sport’s governing body Fifa.

All 64 matches played during the two tournaments will be shared between BBC and ITV, with the competition in South Africa in 2010 marking the twelfth consecutive event broadcast by the pair.

The Fifa World Cup is one of the biggest global sporting events and commands huge television audiences every four years.

Similar global audiences have only been achieved with the likes of the Olympic Games and, in Europe, the Uefa European Football Championships, both of which also take place every four years.

The deal for the 2010 and 2014 events includes live match rights and highlights programmes for both the BBC and ITV.

BBC director general Mark Thompson said: “We are delighted to have secured the rights for one of the biggest sporting events on the planet and that once again the whole competition is being made available on a free to air basis to the audience.

“We hope viewers at home will enjoy watching it as much as we will look forward to broadcasting it.”

Nigel Pickard, ITV's director of programmes, added: “This is a hugely important deal for ITV and the BBC.

“As the choice of channels increases, live events are ever more important to attract national audiences – and they don’t come any bigger than the football World Cup.

“ITV is delighted to be able to offer our viewers the next three on our channels, starting with 2006.”

By Kevin May

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