Digital boost for BBC Sport
November 3, 2017
By Colin Mann
The BBC has announced plans to reinvent free-to-air sports broadcasting, with its biggest increase of live sport coverage in a generation.
Over a thousand extra hours of live sport could be available for audiences to watch online every year through BBC Sport and BBC iPlayer. Sport fans can also personalise the service to make sure they can watch all the live sport they love, whenever it’s on the BBC, across computers, mobiles, tablets and connected TVs.
The BBC is working closely with the likes of the FA, the All England Lawn Tennis Club, the International Tennis Federation, British Swimming and British Basketball, with the aim of broadcasting coverage from more than 30 additional sports or sporting events every year, including World, European and National Championships.
This means audiences can watch more matches from the early rounds of the FA Cup, Rugby League Challenge Cup, Women’s Super League Football, the British Basketball League, Wheelchair Tennis and many more. This expanded online offer complements the BBC’s extensive TV and radio portfolio, which includes the Olympic Games to 2024, the Wimbledon Championships to 2024, the Football World Cup to 2022, Euro 2020 plus the 6 Nations and FA Cup to 2021.
BBC Sport is the most popular sport site in the UK with unrivalled reach, impact and level of trust. And BBC iPlayer is one of the most popular video on-demand services in the UK, available on over ten thousand devices. The BBC is opening them up to sporting bodies, providing its live-streaming technology, editorial expertise and training. By working in partnership with a wide array of sporting bodies, the BBC will provide a platform to help them grow their sport while offering far greater choice to audiences – delivering more sport to more people.
“This shows how we’re reinventing the BBC for a new generation,” said Tony Hall, BBC Director-General. “We’re giving people more of what they love by working in partnership with the sports industry and making the most of digital technology.”
“We’ve seen the nation get behind a whole host of sports in recent years, especially at major events,” added Barbara Slater, Head of BBC Sport. “We want to use BBC Sport’s live streaming service to showcase more of those moments that inspire people to take part. Put simply, it’s a huge expansion in the availability of free-to-air sport in the UK.”
The extra coverage has been made possible by low-cost streaming technology developed by the BBC. Since London 2012, the BBC has evolved how it streams live events – from Olympic Games and World Cups, to Glastonbury and national elections. The technology can now be used to cover hundreds more hours of live coverage, and a wider range of events, every single day.