Leading British broadcasters, the BBC and ITV, have announced they will share the UK rights for coverage of, arguably, television's biggest global extravaganza.

The state-funded corporation and its commercial rival have secured extensions to their existing deals to televise the FIFA soccer World Cup tournaments in 2010 and 2014.

The pair will air all 64 matches during the two events. The 2010 tournament is to be held in South Africa and the deal is part of a £669 million ($1.19bn; €991m) Europe-wide package agreed with FIFA for that event.

A venue for the 2014 tournament has still to be confirmed, but could be Brazil. Next year's stage is Germany.

Says Nigel Pickard, ITV's director of programmes: "This is a hugely important deal for ITV and the BBC. As the choice of channels increases, live events are ever more important to attract national audiences - and they don't come any bigger than the football World Cup."

And BBC director general Mark Thompson adds: "Once again the whole competition is being made available on a free to air basis to the audience."

Data sourced from Media Week (UK); additional content by WARC staff