British government recognises in sports money talks

The thrill of international football

The thrill of international football Credit: Andrew Parsons / No 10 Downing Street flickr

BRITISH government recognises in sports money talks and is therefore taking action to try to protect fans’ access to the biggest global attractions.

As technology expands, so it is having to review its policy concerning free-to-air ‘listed events’ rules as they affect public service broadcasters (PSBs), including the BBC, ITV, Channel 4 and Channel 5.

They are currently protected as far as broadcast TV is concerned so that viewers may have access to the biggest sporting events which include 13 different tournaments including Football, Olympics, Paralympics, Horse Racing, Wimbledon and Rugby.

As more people tune in via catch-up and streaming services to watch sport, the review will assess whether including digital rights can ensure as many people as possible can continue to access events.

Currently if, for example, the Olympic 100m final was broadcast live in the middle of the night on the BBC, but all streaming and catch-up rights were sold to a different broadcaster and kept behind a paywall, a wide audience may not be able to watch this important event.

Digital Infrastructure Minister Julia Lopez said: “As we saw during the Women’s Euros and with the FIFA World Cup just around the corner, we know that enjoying blockbuster sporting events together means so much to many people.

“Everyone should be able to watch these incredible moments of national unity, no matter how they choose to tune in.

“As viewing habits shift online, it is right that we review our rules and consider whether updates are needed to ensure our brilliant public service broadcasters can continue to bring major events to the public at no extra cost.”

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