SBD/March 14, 2011/Media

BBC Considers Eliminating F1, Wimbledon Coverage To Cut Costs

BBC's agreement to broadcast Wimbledon runs through '14
BBC execs have identified "abandoning coverage" of F1 and Wimbledon as "one way of saving money to help the broadcaster contend with the frozen licence fee settlement" announced in October, according to Brown & Plunkett of the GUARDIAN. Network officials have broached the topic of eliminating the US$64M-a-year F1 deal and its long-running Wimbledon coverage as ways the BBC could achieve a US$967M "annual saving targeted for 2014." F1 has been on ITV as recently as '08, but "is not seen as a mainstay of the BBC calendar." Dropping Wimbledon, though, "would be a controversial move," as it is "seen as a quintessentially BBC event." The BBC has aired the event since '37, though the "exact cost of the rights is barely known outside a handful of people." It "would not be easy for the BBC to make a quick move to drop either sport," as both deals run through '14. The BBC spends about US$480M a year on sports coverage. That spend would need to be cut by an estimated US$97M for the net to decrease its budgets 20% by '14. However, it is "understood that the BBC would strive to protect football coverage" (GUARDIAN, 3/12).
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BBC Sports, Formula One, Wimbledon, Media

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