Sky Sports has announced a new four-year deal with the World Snooker Association for two major tournaments – the British Open and Regal Scottish.

The first event under the new deal – which covers seasons 2000-1 to 2003-4 inclusive – is this week’s British Open. The opening world ranking tournament of the new snooker season is being shown exclusively live on Sky Sports 2 with enhanced coverage for Sky digital viewers.

The events covered under the new deal are:

The British Open – begining with last weekend’s events at the Plymouth Pavilions. In last year’s final against Peter Ebdon, shown live on Sky Sports, winner Stephen Hendry registered the first televised 147 maximum break in a world ranking final.

The Regal Scottish – next takes place at the Aberdeen Exhibition and Conference Centre from April 9 to 15 2001. Ronnie O’Sullivan will be defending his title against the likes of world champion Mark Williams, John Higgins and Hendry.

Announcing the new contract, Roger Moody, Sky Sports’ Head of Commercial Development, said: ‘We are delighted to have a new deal for these premium tournaments. Sky Sports has a long association with snooker and a strong tradition of innovation and we will continue to develop our coverage over the next four seasons.

‘The enhanced facility, introduced on Sky digital last year, gave our viewers a choice of live matches and was a resounding success – it will be offered again for each of these events.’

WSA chairman Mark Wildman said: ‘Snooker has produced superlative viewing figures over a long period of time and continues to do so. Both the British Open and Regal Scottish are major events on the snooker calendar and we are delighted Sky Sports will be showing them for the next four years.

‘Sky Sports has brought innovative coverage to snooker and we too are looking at ways of broadening the game’s appeal in the future.’

The 2000 British Open reaches its climax with Sunday’s final and will be enhanced for Sky digital viewers. First introduced to the sport at the 2000 Regal Scottish Masters, the service allows viewers to select a live match from up to three different tables.

Sky digital viewers simply press the red button on their remote handset to launch the Sky Sports Active service and to view an on-screen menu of matches. Then they can select their chosen game by using the colour-coded buttons on the handset. The service also gives viewers the chance to watch post-match interviews and the press conferences as an alternative to the continuing match coverage.

For further information please contact:
Claire Walker at Sky Sports on 020 7 705 3872