SBD/December 1, 2011/Media

After Losing Numerous Exclusive Deals, BBC's Thomson Warns Net Will Be "Ruthless"

BBC COO Caroline Thomson has “warned that the corporation will have to be ‘ruthless’ in prioritising which sports it broadcasts in the future, warning that if the cost of media rights escalates it could have a ‘long-term problem,’” according to John Plunkett of the GUARDIAN. Thomson was speaking “after a six-month period in which the BBC gave up its exclusive live rights to Formula One, signing a joint deal with BSkyB to the chagrin of many motor racing fans, lost the French Open tennis to ITV, and agreed to share coverage of the World Professional Darts Championships with ESPN.” However, BBC “has signed new contracts to keep Wimbledon and Six Nations rugby union until 2017, and won back the World Athletics Championships from Channel 4” from ‘15. Thomson said that the joint F1 deal “generated the same savings as the corporation would have made if it had closed BBC4, and almost the same as it would have saved had it decided to shut BBC3.” Thomson later said that BBC “would focus on sports that appealed to the whole of the UK, and highlighted events such as the Wimbledon Tennis Championships and Six Nations rugby, as well as the Olympics.” She predicted the joint F1 rights deal with Sky “will work well." The deal will see BBC broadcast half of next season's races "live, including the British Grand Prix" (GUARDIAN, 12/1).
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