By David Gold

wimbledon 28-10-11October 28 - Wimbledon will continue to be broadcast on the BBC until at least 2017, after the public broadcaster agreed a deal to extend its host broadcaster and UK rights holder contract by three years.

There had been concern that with the Corporation trying to make savings, as a result of the license fee being frozen, that the iconic tennis tournament could be the latest victim of their austerity measures after Formula One coverage was cut.

The BBC earlier this year agreed a deal, which would see them show 50 per cent of Formula One races, with Sky Sports taking on the rest.

Barbara Slater, the BBC Sport director, spoke of her delight at securing the Grand Slam event for the long term.

"The BBC's first-ever live sport broadcast was from Wimbledon and we are proud that our new deal means the longest partnership in sports broadcasting continues," she said.

fred perry_28-10-11"We know that Wimbledon fortnight has a very special place in the hearts of the UK public.

"We are delighted that our new agreement ensures coverage of The Championships remains free to air and available to licence fee payers."

Wimbledon is one of the highlights of the sporting calendar in the UK and has the status as the world's most prestigious tennis tournament.

Its place in the hearts of the British public is evident every year when millions of spectators tune in to watch the action or queue up in SW19 for tickets to the fortnight long event, despite no British player even reaching a men's final since Fred Perry (pictured) lifted the trophy in 1936.

Ian Ritchie, the chief executive of the All England Club, said: "Wimbledon fans have been enjoying the BBC's broadcast coverage of The Championships since 1927 and we are delighted to be extending this enduring and successful partnership for a further three years."

The signing of the agreement could cause concern at the Football Association, where fears have mounted that the BBC may not rival ITV's offer to show coverage of the FA Cup.

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