iPlayer Radio What's New?

5 live Sport's rights deals: continuing to bring sport to life on the radio

Thursday 18 April 2013, 12:59

Richard Burgess Richard Burgess Head of Sports News and Radio Sport

Manchester City win the 2011/2012 Barclays Premier League We sometimes say that 5 live is "the home of live sport." So what does that actually mean?

Well, we pride ourselves on covering a wide range of sports live - and from inside the venue. In fact, we aim to get as close to the action as possible. You might have heard Iain Carter and John Murray whispering while commentating out on the course at Augusta last weekend to avoid distracting the players during The Masters (yes, they are that close!).

We feel this kind of access is essential to capture the true drama of an event and to report on all the stories which seem to inevitably develop around sport.

However, just like television, you have to acquire rights to provide radio commentary from inside a stadium or from the course. These rights can sometimes be hotly contested in a competitive market place.

As such, we were pleased recently to extend our current Premier League commentary rights packages for a further three years from the start of next season. We have four out of the seven packages available - Saturday lunchtime kick-offs, first choice at Saturday 3pm, Sunday 4pm kick-offs, plus Monday and Tuesday night matches.

When combined with our coverage of the SPL, the Champions League, Europa League, FA Cup, Football League and international football, we think it makes a pretty compelling proposition for our football-following listeners. That's not to mention our coverage of the World Cup in Brazil coming up next year.

We are also committed to covering a wide range of sports - not just football - and this summer we are particularly excited by the prospect of a home Ashes series on Test Match Special on 5 live Sports Extra. Our England cricket commentary deal with the ECB lasts until 2019 so plenty more from Aggers and the team for a few years yet!

The Test Match Special Team So how do we decide which rights to acquire and what sporting event we should cover on 5 live? To be honest, it's fairly simple: we choose what we think is most editorially compelling for the audience. We will use audience research and listening data to try to inform these decisions too. Of course not everyone will agree with our choices but they are always taken in good faith and with the audience in the forefront of our thinking.

I understand some listeners have asked why we haven't covered some of the recent Champions League matches not involving British sides. This has not been a question of rights so much, more an editorial decision based on the potential cost of coverage and the level of audience interest. We will be commentating on the Champions League final at Wembley and possibly the second leg of one or both of the semi-finals.

We do also have a responsibility to cover those other sports which perhaps don't hit the mainstream agenda as much as football and cricket - and we take that responsibility very seriously. So, expect to hear a lot more Olympic, Paralympic and women's sport over the coming months on 5 live and 5 live Sports Extra.

Ultimately, everyone at BBC Radio Sport loves sport and we all feel hugely privileged to provide what we hope is one of the best live sport services around. I am also lucky to manage some of the best broadcasters in the business who quite simply bring sport to life on the radio.

For a full list of upcoming 5 live commentaries visit our commentaries page.


Jump to comments pagination
  • rate this

    Comment number 1.

    Why are Baseball and American Football featured on Radio 5. Very few know the rules of these games , fewer understand what is going on via a radio commentary, that obviously includes the commentators whom it's clear are waiting for a TV replay to fill them in as to what has recently happened in the commentary games.
    It comes across as a Third World Dictatorship trying to imbibe a foreign culture onto its citizens. We are not interested.and it makes the very honorable BBC seem degraded in my eyes.

  • rate this

    Comment number 2.

    Delighted to see 5Live continue to get rights to top level sports across the board, including a healthy the Premier League rights which I guess are the most sought after and costly - long may that continue, it's a worthwhile investment given the demand. Am a big fan of the coverage and it is actually the main way I follow sports live nowadays.

    Also, couldn't disagree more with the comment above. There's a very significant following for the American sports over here and I know I'm certainly not alone in saying that I'm pleased to see an increased offering on 5LiveSportsXtra. The stepped up baseball coverage this year in particular is a welcome addition.

  • rate this

    Comment number 3.

    I'd like to know why the 'home of live sport' didn't think that covering the Europa League was necessary. Even in the early knockout stages there was a documentary about a horse's first day at stud rather than live football, especially when the commentary of Ingham, Green, Murray and Dennis is far superior to anything that the TV stations can produce.
    On that note it's sad to see there's no more Alan Green in 606. It was nice to hear someone who sounds like a genuine football fan (the odd grumpy moment excepted) rather than being told we don't understand the intricacies of the game by a boorish ex-professional.

  • rate this

    Comment number 4.

    Rounders and padded ugby, is that what we pay for nowadays? Dross, dross, dross from Radio 5 dead...

    I'm through with this station - I'm off to TalkSport. At least there's les woman-focussed rubbish there!

  • rate this

    Comment number 5.

    I agree with @1.
    No women's sports at all and yet Netball has over 100,000 women regularly playing. No women's cricket yet our team is superb. No women's football or rugby. You have a 5LSE yet half the time it is out of use or has football on it - again. No cycling unless it is the Tour, and yet the Giro is coming up and is a great race. Not enough rugby at all. I could go on.
    You are populist and this means you never introduce new sports that may attract younger participants and shove all the usuals down our throats.
    Your great gem - TMS.

  • rate this

    Comment number 6.

    Re Champions League ties with no British interest, you can count me as a listener who would like to hear commentary.

    I'd also back up post #3 in expressing disappointment at the lack of Europa League commentary during that tournaments group stage.

    A couple of posts have mentioned the NFL/MLB coverage on Sports Extra which I think is brilliant, long may it continue.

    Re post #5, Sports Extra has provided commentary on Netball, womens cricket and womens rugby union in the last couple of months and Simon Brotherton tweeted they will be covering the Giro this year.

  • rate this

    Comment number 7.

    @6 I'm talking proper coverage not the odd international tournament, or a news report on some Sports programme. Space fillers!

  • rate this

    Comment number 8.

    Will thanks for the effort in getting a response to my Question.

    Richard its a shame that 5live do not consider matches like Barcelona vs Milan as worthy enough for their audience, the 2nd Leg of that tie was a cracker, 2 of Europes elite, going head to head, was that to do with cost? I would have certainly thought there would be a big appetite amongst your audience for such a live game.

    In terms of Bayern Munich vs Barcelona and Real vs Dortmund, as has been said before i would expect both ties to be epic matches, if i was Head of Radio Sport, both legs of both matches would be broadcast live, why anyone would want to prefer to tune into 5live to listen to updates, instead of live commentary is beyond me.

    Finally Richard, can you shed some light on why Alan Green has been ditched from 606? He may not be everyones cup of tea, but imo he was a fantastic 606 host, having to rely on Charles Sales Sport Agenda to find out what is going on is a shame, why the silence?

    Nothing against Ian Dennis, but no one is better the king Greeny at hosting 606!!

    Some answers please?

  • rate this

    Comment number 9.

    Forget to add during this season BBC London or other local radio station have had rights to games being played on Wednesday, these have been broadcast online to a national audience, however 5live have broadcast update programmes during these times, surely if BBC Radio London have got the rights to a Wednesday game, and broadcast it nationally via BBC Sport website, why havent 5live been able to broadcast it live?

  • rate this

    Comment number 10.

    I'm not surprised there is less money for all the sports the BBC used to cover - sending studio reporters to cover news events in Europe and the US when you already have plenty of cover must cost a fortune. And to hear a report via a mobile as yesterday, for hopurs on end when there were other BBC staff on the spot makes me query how you can justify it - especially as a passer by was used for the main event.

    My main question: When there is an extra station designed for sport, why is it so underused?

  • rate this

    Comment number 11.

    Interesting point with the Champions League when there is no british interest. I would quite like to hear a neutral semi-final perhaps from the second leg but I have really enjoyed the past few weeks when there has been less football commentary on Five Live in the midweek evenings and we have had some excellent sports discussion shows such as the Grand National show, full Masters preview and tonight I'm looking forward to 5 Live Golf.

  • rate this

    Comment number 12.

    2 cracking,breathtaking,mouthwatering nights of Champions League football have just flown by us, 2 of the biggest upsets in Champions League history, have just been played out before us, the new superpower of Europe has emerged, where was 5live when all this was happening? They were sitting in the studio chatting away, equivalent to a Pensioners Tea Club!!

    Even talkSPORT bought the rights for the games, Mr Burgess do you regret your decison now, in shunning world class football for a Championship game and a Pensioners Tea Club? Hindsight is a wonderful thing, but 5live got it wrong, will they make amends by by providing coverage of both second legs? It will be pure attacking football in the second legs, Barcelona have got nothing to lose, as for Madrid, you can never say never.

    So Mr Burgess, what are the plans for next week?

  • rate this

    Comment number 13.

    Fed, I heard Conor saying on Livesey last night that because of the first leg score, he would not now be sent to Barcelona.

  • rate this

    Comment number 14.

    They got it right, much better week of 5 Live Sport

  • rate this

    Comment number 15.

    What a joke the headline to this piece is. I think the missing word is 'not' bringing you etc etc.

    The new boss is singularly quiet .... his spring overhaul having been somewhat underwhelming to say the least .... and the station we used to rely on for the best in news and sport - well a little tarnished I would say.

  • rate this

    Comment number 16.

    Reading through Richard Burgess's piece again he must be quite embarrassed his PR man wrote it on reflection.

  • rate this

    Comment number 17.

    David, i agree Preview Programmes have a key role in 5lives schedule, however live Commentaries of World Class Sport should always take precedent, are you really telling me people would have preferred to listen to a Golf preview show instead of Barca vs Munich - Dortmund vs Madrid, i knew a few people who were travelling and were at Work and tuned into 5live expecting to hear CL, yet nothing, in the time where the live football on the BBC is at a minimum, to see them not using the Rights to CL Semi Finals is a shame, they dont boycott games in the Euros or the World Cup when non British sides are playing so why the CL?

    Going onto Stumps, for once i agree with you, it seems Mr Burgess has instructed his PR man to create this article, and once published has not bothered to come back to answer Questions, veen on Twitter where he had linked to this Blog Post, he mentioned he was scared of getting abused, come on Mr Burgess, we dont bite!!!

  • rate this

    Comment number 18.

    hmmm seems this posts will be closed at 12pm, another excuse, to not answer questions.


This entry is now closed for comments

Share this page

More Posts

Bump Club: Becoming a mum - how old is "too old"?

Tuesday 16 April 2013, 11:21

Warring wheel spinners

Tuesday 23 April 2013, 10:49