The BBC’s sports director calls for new rules for television’s “crown jewels” | Sports


Olympic Games | The Guardian

The sports director of the BBC has called for new rules for the “crown jewels” of television following criticism of the station during the Olympic Games this summer.

Barbara Slater told MPs on the Digital, Culture, Media and Sports Committee that the “Events listed: The rules set by the government should be expanded to include the right to stream events online and include women’s sports in those events.

“The event laws listed are so critical, not just for the BBC but also for public service broadcasters,” said Slater. “The BBC has the ability to amplify events. [But] This was a regime introduced in the 1990s, there was no development in terms of digital access and on-demand access. On request is a modernization that should happen. I think the other interesting thing is the prospect of women’s events being listed. “

The current events listed are divided into categories, with the largest A-group comprising the men’s soccer World Cup, Wimbledon and the Grand National, as well as the Olympic Games. This category must be shown on free-to-air television. In 2019, the government announced a consultation to include more women’s events, including the Women’s World Cup, which reached 28 million viewers on the BBC in 2019.

The BBC showed 500 hours of coverage of the Tokyo Summer Olympics but received widespread criticism for not providing full online on-demand coverage. This was because the International Olympic Committee sold European rights to Discovery and the BBC subsequently bought back a limited package of rights from the commercial broadcaster.

“It is worrying when rights are sold on a blanket basis because it means that the BBC cannot bid individually. We are talking to the IOC about how they might run future tenders, ”said Slater.

“I think the BBC is still doing so much … and some governing bodies recognize that. I think if you spoke to Fifa about the Women’s World Cup and the development of women’s football, you would say that this has been great business for the BBC and Fifa. “

UK Sport’s chief operating officer, Simon Morton, told the committee that the criteria for funding the sport’s governing bodies will also be changed. The considerations are to be extended beyond the mere number of medals won at the Olympic and international level to include aspects of diversity and representation.

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