Flogging Olympic broadcasting rights to the highest bidder

DCMS ringfences free-to-air broadcast of the Olympics, yet the IOC expect bids from pay TV broadcasters for the 2016 Games. What do they know that we don't?

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Later this year, when the nationwide switchover from analogue to digital TV is complete, the Department for Culture, Media and Sport will return to a shelved review of the list of protected sporting events – those that, by law, must be broadcast live on free-to-air TV. The current ‘A-list’ was drawn up in 1998.

The possible conclusions the review will arrive at have been a source of concern for sports fans in Britain for some time now. In April 2010, as Left Foot Forward reported at the time, the then shadow sports minister Hugh Robertson made clear that the Conservatives were in favour of cutting the number of listed events:

“We shall have a rigorous economic review of the impact of the Davies’ proposals, but we favour a shorter A list of sports that are on free to air and a return to the B list showing highlights packages on terrestrial television.”

So, which events might be for the chop? One rather surprising possibility emerges from today’s Guardian: the Olympic Games.

With a month to go until the start of London 2012, the tendering process for the UK broadcast rights at the 2016 games has already begun: the International Olympic Committee will formally start to consider various broadcasters’ bids on Friday. The paper writes:

“The UK broadcasting rights, which are held by the BBC, are protected by listed-events legislation that guarantees it free-to-air coverage. But the IOC has confirmed that a pay-TV broadcaster such as Sky or a telecom company such as BT, which recently paid £738m for a slice of Premier League live rights, could bid in expectation of the legislation being altered, or to sublease some of the rights back to a free-to-air broadcaster.

Labour’s response to Robertson’s comments in 2010 was to accuse the Tories of “dancing to the News International tune”. Given that this latest news coincides with major structural changes in News Corp, there may yet prove to be something in that.

 


See also:

What will a post-Olympics Britain look like? 27 June 2012

The two faces of the Tories on sport: Embracing the Games while closing swimming pools 18 May 2012

The fight to save school sport goes on 5 May 2012

The devastating effect of Gove’s desire to take an axe to school sport 29 November 2010

Scrapping School Sport Partnerships – ideology or idiocy? 22 November 2010


 

Yet what this really showcases – assuming the aforementioned bidders do include pay-per-view TV companies who do, indeed, know something the rest of us don’t – is the cynicism of the Tories’ attitude towards sport. In public, they embrace the Olympics; in private, they close swimming pools, scrap School Sport Partnerships and charge young children to use public playgrounds.

Now they entertain the thought of forcing people to pay for the privilege of watching the world’s greatest sporting event, presumably on the basis that if this doesn’t “inspire a generation”, nothing will.

 


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22 Responses to “Flogging Olympic broadcasting rights to the highest bidder”

  1. don phillips

    Flogging Olympic broadcasting rights to the highest bidder //t.co/SiaVCTwa by @BenPhillips1989

  2. don phillips

    .@benphillips1989 Good piece. People should be aware. //t.co/40enwPMv #olympics

  3. Political Planet

    Flogging Olympic broadcasting rights to the highest bidder: DCMS ringfences free-to-air broadcast of the Olympic… //t.co/f90mneYz

  4. Simon Lewis

    Flogging Olympic broadcasting rights to the highest bidder //t.co/SiaVCTwa by @BenPhillips1989

  5. Trakgalvis

    RT @leftfootfwd: Flogging Olympic broadcasting rights to the highest bidder //t.co/3SQdZxtJ by @BenPhillips1989 #NewsClub

  6. NewsatLeft

    Flogging Olympic broadcasting rights to the highest… //t.co/WVYFj86y #PublicServicesforAll #CoalitionGovernment #DCMS #HughRobertson

  7. NewsatLeft

    Flogging Olympic broadcasting rights to the highest… //t.co/KBXACt6j #PublicServicesforAll #CoalitionGovernment #DCMS #HughRobertson

  8. Clive Burgess

    “@leftfootfwd: Flogging Olympic broadcasting rights to the highest bidder //t.co/FmYOw8el by @BenPhillips1989”

  9. Selohesra

    BBC long ceased to be fit for purpose – institutinally biased on issues ranging from Israel to climate change and EU to Obama. Leaping to support and fawning over every utterance of Balls & Co.

    Time to scrap the licence fee and make BBC a subscription channel – with free subsciption for pensioners and hard up if need be.

  10. Anonymous

    That’s right, it doesn’t put out your propaganda so of course it’s anethma. Good Stalinist ideology as always. It supports science and gives a balance to many things.

    You want it to be subscription now, ensuring that nobody carries it and the entire thing’s gone within a few years.

  11. Selohesra

    BBC balanced? Now I know you’re crazy. Do you never listen to Davies/Naughtie/Montague in the morning?

  12. Anonymous

    I didn’t say “balanced”, I said it brought some balance. To some issues. It’s still crazily anti-Isralie, for example.

  13. Selohesra

    Well at least we agree on something – it’s a start 🙂

  14. Mr. Sensible

    Selohesra I totally disagree with that. We are definetly better off with the BBC than with something like Fox News.

    On this specific issue, I read about it in the Guardian and I consider this ridiculous. In the zeal for big money, the 1 important thing that sports governing bodies all over the place are forgetting are the fans. These organizations are looking increasingly like they know the cost of everything and the value of nothing.

  15. BevR

    RT @leftfootfwd: Flogging Olympic broadcasting rights to the highest bidder //t.co/vEWjcG9y

  16. saramo

    RT @leftfootfwd: Flogging Olympic broadcasting rights to the highest bidder //t.co/vEWjcG9y

  17. cameronsfollys

    [Another scandal in the making?] Flogging Olympic broadcasting rights to the highest bidder //t.co/MkiJHiXr

  18. Alex Braithwaite

    RT @leftfootfwd: Flogging Olympic broadcasting rights to the highest bidder //t.co/TGwd5LkB Tory way!

  19. cutchswife

    RT @labour52rose: RT @leftfootfwd: Flogging Olympic broadcasting rights to the highest bidder //t.co/X9eodEcY Tory way!

  20. janet ewan

    RT @labour52rose: RT @leftfootfwd: Flogging Olympic broadcasting rights to the highest bidder //t.co/X9eodEcY Tory way!

  21. J.P. Grumpsukthuck

    RT @leftfootfwd: Flogging Olympic broadcasting rights to the highest bidder //t.co/TGwd5LkB Tory way!

  22. Selohesra

    Would you at least agree with Botty & me that the BBC display outrageous bias against Isreal?

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