NBC Sports have renewed their rights to the Wimbledon tennis tournament, extending their contract four more years starting in 2008.
The deal is slightly lower than the networks previous contract, calling for the sports division to pay $12 million a year, instead of the current contract which calls for a payment of $13 million a year. The reason for the decline per year is related to Nielsen ratings for the event dropping. The 2006 tournament dropped by 20% in the ratings from the year prior.
Wimbledon began this year on Monday (June 25) and will run through Sunday (weather permitting) with final starting at 9:00 a.m.
The tournament is in its record 39th straight year airing on NBC. The longest running event in the history of NBC Sports.
Variety additionally reports that ESPN, which airs matches from earlier in the tournament, is also in the process of re-negotiaint their contract. The network is looking to renew their current four=year deal and reduce their payment of $6.4 million per year.