There are some small changes coming to tennis broadcasting. In a nutshell, BT Sport will be increasing their coverage of WTA events, and changes are being made to the Tennis TV subscription offering.
Here’s our guide to the different options available, to the best of my knowledge, for watching tennis in the UK in 2017.
What can I already watch?
I already have Sky Sports – what do I get?
Sky Sports have rights to the ATP Masters 1000 and 500 series of events with the exception of Queen’s which is on the BBC and Eurosport. Sky also show the ATP World Tour Finals, which they share rights with the BBC.
I already have BT Sport – what do I get?
BT Sport currently have rights to all WTA Mandatory and Premier events, except for Birmingham and Eastbourne which are on Eurosport. They also show a selection of WTA International events, usually from the latter stages, and the Tour Finals. In 2017 they will have the rights to many more WTA International events, except for Nuremburg, Linz and Luxembourg which will remain on Eurosport also; Eastbourne is also on the BBC.
I already have Eurosport – what do I get?
Eurosport have full rights to three grand slams: the Australian Open, French Open and US Open. They also have daily highlights and live finals from Wimbledon.
Eurosport show some other ATP 250 and WTA International events, usually the latter stages, but in 2017 BT Sport will have most of the WTA events. ATP events on Eurosport are Brisbane, Doha, Sydney, Estoril, Geneva, Stuttgart, Queen’s, Eastbourne and St Petersburg, and their WTA events are Nuremburg, Birmingham, Eastbourne, Linz and Luxembourg.
What can I see on free-to-air TV?
Wimbledon is available free-to-air on the BBC in HD with coverage on BBC One, BBC Two and the red button. There is also a choice of additional court coverage on their website and BBC Sport app, which is available on Apple, Android, Amazon, Roku and connected TV.
The BBC also show single court coverage from the ATP 500 Queen’s and WTA Eastbourne, the day sessions and final of the ATP World Tour Finals (night sessions only on Sky), and GB ties in the Davis Cup.
The French Open is also available free-to-air on ITV – usually ITV4 – but they can only show one match at a time so there is no choice of court, and ITV4 is not available in HD on all platforms.
What subscription services are on offer?
How do I get Sky Sports?
Sky Sports is available on Sky and Virgin Media, BT TV and TalkTalk TV.
You can also get Sky Sports via Now TV, to watch on their website or app – this costs £6.99 for a day, £10.99 for a week or £33.99 for a month but looks for offers. You can’t access the red button through Now TV, so you’ll only get the single-court coverage on the main channel. If you buy a monthly pass through the website, remember to cancel your subscription if you don’t want it to renew automatically.
How do I get BT Sport?
BT Sport is available on Sky, Virgin Media and BT TV.
To get all four BT Sport channels on Sky currently costs £21.99 per month, or £26.99 in HD. This also gives you access via the website and app. BT Sport is part of the Full House TV package on Virgin Media.
If you have BT Broadband you can get BT Sport for free (there is a charge for HD) either through BT TV or via their website. On the rare occasion there are schedule clashes some coverage is on the red button which is not available online.
How do I get Eurosport?
Eurosport 1 and Eurosport 2 are included in most packages on Sky, Virgin Media and BT TV.
Eurosport has no red button but shows extra coverage live on the Eurosport Player website and app, along with Eurosport 1 and 2. Access to Eurosport Player costs £5.99 for a day, or £59.99 for a year (£19.99 before 31 January 2017).
What’s the best option for me?
I just want to watch Grand Slams:
Wimbledon is available free-to-air on the BBC in HD with coverage on BBC One, BBC Two and the red button, and a choice of court coverage on their website and BBC Sport app which is also available on Roku and Connected TV. Eurosport also have some limited rights to Wimbledon – nightly highlights and the finals.
The Australian Open, French Open and US Open are all available in full on Eurosport with a choice of courts on Eurosport Player.
The French Open is also available free-to-air on ITV4, but they can only show one match at a time so there is no choice of court, and ITV4 is not available in HD on all platforms.
So if you don’t already have Eurosport as part of your TV package, you’ll need to get Eurosport Player which costs £5.99 for a day, or £59.99 for a year (£19.99 before 31 January 2017).
I just want to watch Andy Murray.
Andy Murray plays the grand slams and all Masters 1000 series events, plus Queen’s and a couple of other ATP 500 events.
You would therefore need Tennis TV or Sky Sports for the Masters 1000 and 500s, Eurosport for the Australian and US Opens, and the BBC for Wimbledon and Queen’s. ITV are pretty much guaranteed to show Murray’s matches at the French Open, so no need for Eurosport there.
If you don’t already have access to any subscription TV or Tennis TV, this is the minimum you’ll need to spend to watch Andy Murray in 2017:
£19.99 on Eurosport Player before 31 January for the Australian Open and ATP 250 event in Doha. In 2016, Murray took February off, and didn’t play until Indian Wells and Miami in March. Three months of Sky Sports at £33.99 a month will see you through to Rome in May. You can then watch Murray at the French Open on ITV or Eurosport, and Queen’s and Wimbledon on the BBC. A month of Sky Sports will cover Washington (if he chooses to play), then Montreal and Cincinnati. The US Open is exclusive to Eurosport which you’ll already have. Another two months of Sky Sports for Beijing, Shanghai and Vienna in October, then Paris and the World Tour Finals.
That’s a total of six months Sky Sports at £33.99 per month, and a year of Eurosport at £19.99, total £223.93. Remember though that both services allow you to watch all of their coverage of other sports at the same time. I do this because I also follow Formula 1 on Sky and cycling and athletics on Eurosport. If you’re only sports interest is in tennis, then a year’s subscription to Tennis TV would be cheaper for the ATP events (see below).
I want to watch other British players on tour.
You will either want to subscribe to Tennis TV (see below), or a combination of Sky Sports, BT Sport and Eurosport. Being lower ranked, the likes of Kyle Edmund, Dan Evans and Aljaz Bedene are more likely to play ATP 250 events, some of which are available on Eurosport.
You’ll need BT Sport to watch the majority of action involving Johanna Konta, Heather Watson and Naomi Broady on the WTA tour.
I just want to watch Davis Cup and Fed Cup.
The BBC have the rights to Great Britain’s ties in the Davis Cup so you can watch these for free on the BBC. With GB’s Fed Cup team currently down in the Europe/Africa Zone Group 1, you are unlikely to see them on TV in 2017.
Davis Cup and Fed Cup were on Eurosport until 2016 but they did not renew the rights for 2017.
You can watch all ties via the Davis Cup or Fed Cup website: £4.95 for 24-hour access.
I want to watch all the tennis!
You can watch most ATP tennis tournaments on their streaming service Tennis TV, via their website or Apple and Android apps. Grand Slams and Davis Cup are not available on Tennis TV so you will still need another way to watch these (see above). In 2017, Tennis TV will not be showing the WTA and the WTA have not announced details of an alternative service.
Some tournaments are usually blocked in the host country and some others, and some of these are not broadcast at all. In 2016, the following ATP tournaments were blocked in the UK or not available at all on Tennis TV: ATP 500 London (Queen’s); ATP 250 Doha, Estoril and Nottingham. Some of these were available via other broadcasters, for example Queen’s is on both the BBC and Eurosport.
In 2017 Tennis TV will be launching apps for Apple TV, Roku, Amazon Fire in January with games consoles and connected TVs available later. They will also make more matches available and allow full replays no longer restricted to 7 days.
Tennis TV is now £9.99 a month on a repeating subscription – this totals £109.89 for 11 months (Jan-Nov), or you can subscribe for a whole year for £74.99.
Remember you’ll also Eurosport Player and access to the BBC (free) on top of this for the grand slams, and for WTA you’ll either need to subscribe to BT Sport or wait for details of the new WTA streaming service to be announced.
If you’re also interested in other sports as well as tennis, you might be better off subscribing to Sky Sports and/or BT Sport – a package with Sky, Virgin Media or BT also includes Eurosport but you may need to also take their broadband and phone line services too.
What about dodgy streaming or betting sites?
There are various dodgy streaming sites out there offering subscription sports for free. From experience their streams are unreliable, low quality (in both sound and vision), covered in pop-up advertising, and put you at risk of prosecution for copyright infringement.
Betting sites are more reliable, but again the streams are low quality and come without commentary. You also need to have an open account with a betting site to view them.
The ATP Challenger Tour has official streaming on its website.
Remember, to watch live television in the UK, even online, you need a TV licence.
Updated 27 January with Davis and Fed Cups rights details.