BBC extends deal to broadcast snooker's 'Triple Crown' until 2019

Sheffield's Crucible
More than 15 million people watched the World Championship on the BBC last year

The BBC will continue to broadcast three of snooker's biggest tournaments until the end of the 2018-19 season.

The new deal - a two-year extension to the previous agreement - covers the 'Triple Crown' of World Championship, UK Championship and the Masters.

"Our agreement with the BBC is one of the cornerstones of our sport," said World Snooker chairman Barry Hearn.

Meanwhile, the World Championship will continue to be staged in Sheffield until at least 2027.

The event has been played at the city's Crucible Theatre since 1977.

Hearn said: "The Crucible is where we come from, there's the history, that's where the deal's for. The deal is with the Crucible Theatre as well as Sheffield City Council."

Barbara Slater, director of BBC Sport, described snooker as "one of our nation's most treasured sports".

She added: "We know there will be millions of snooker fans across the country celebrating the fact they can continue to watch world-class snooker on free-to-air television."

Hearn said he was "delighted" the BBC's agreement had been extended.

"These three major tournaments are much loved by the public, they are part of the fabric of British sport," he added.

"The BBC's coverage of the World Championship last year alone was watched by over 15m people, proving how popular our sport is.

"The BBC and their production company IMG do a tremendous job in their coverage of snooker and this new deal is fantastic news for the many millions of people throughout the UK who love watching it."