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London's preparations get a positive response

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Roger Mosey | 14:47 UK time, Thursday, 10 September 2009

From time-to-time in this blog there'll be entries from other key senior members of the team leading our London 2012 work. My colleague Dave Gordon is head of major events for BBC Sport and he writes the following:

Sandwiched between the two milestones of three years to go at the end of July and 1000 days to go at the end of October, it's time for another landmark in the countdown to London 2012.

This time it's the turn of broadcasting. All the world's leading Olympic broadcasters have gathered in London this week for the first briefing on preparations for the Games.

It's a time to meet friends we last saw in Beijing and some we caught up with earlier this year in Vancouver at their World Broadcaster meeting.

There are new faces too. While the rights holders in the USA are still NBC, Channel Seven Australia have been replaced by Channel Nine and CBC Canada have given way to CTV who are naturally excited at the prospect of doing their first Games, the Winter Olympics, in their home country next February.

The Olympic StadiumThe Olympic Stadium takes shape in Stratford

The main business of the week is a series of briefings and meetings with the organising committee LOCOG, other broadcasters and Olympic Broadcasting Services, OBS, who are the host broadcaster for the London Games.

Led by the legendary Manolo Romero, they are charged by the IOC with providing the core, neutral coverage of all the 26 sports.

In practice, OBS employ some of the best production teams from all over the world to ensure that coverage is absolutely state of the art. Many will have performed this task at previous Games.

Meanwhile the BBC's responsibilities are directed towards our own domestic audiences.

We concentrate our efforts and resources on supplementing the core feeds with commentary, studio presentation, extra cameras with a focus on Team GB competitors, features, context etc.

It's a challenge for everyone involved particularly in the areas of logistics and the technical facilities and connectivity necessary to deliver to domestic audiences, which are expected to reach 20 million or more during London 2012, and global audiences that will run into billions!

Summing up the week, there's been a positive response from the world's broadcasters to London's preparations and the early plans for television coverage.

Nowhere was this more evident than on the site visit to the Olympic Park earlier in the week.

Despite a coach journey from Central London to the Stratford site which was tortuous at times and a salutary reminder to all of us of the advantages of using the good public transport links to the park; that was quickly forgotten as everyone admired the scale of the work and the progress being made right across the site.

International Broadcast CentreThe International Broadcast Centre nears completion

Our overseas colleagues were particularly impressed at how much had already been done with just under three years to go. It really is an amazing sight and something we can and should be proud of.

My favourite moment was when the coach was able to drive around the inside of the stadium. Yes, it's that advanced. We were being driven around what will be the 400m athletics track in July 2012.

It was also inspiring to get up close to the site of the aquatics arena where the iconic roof is being assembled.

This will be a 'signature' venue in the Park and it will be fascinating to watch it being built. Of course you can monitor that yourselves via the permanent webcam we have overlooking the site.

Of particular interest to broadcasters was the state of the International Broadcast Centre towards the north of the site.

Having walked across that part of the Park at the end of March this year with work still weeks away from starting, I was amazed to see how far they had got. Within a few weeks, the foundations have been dug and the steel structure erected.

The Olympic Development Authority, the ODA, appear to be doing a great job right across the Olympic Park.

Greenwich ParkThe view north from Greenwich Park

One more venue thought; the equestrianism which will be held in Greenwich Park.

To my utter shame, I had never before visited the top of Greenwich Park alongside the Royal Observatory. What a stunning view to the north looking across the Thames and towards Canary Wharf.

I know it's a controversial choice but it is a great reminder of what some of the iconic venues outside of the Olympic Park will offer to the public and television audiences around the world.

Broadcasters can be a cynical, sceptical bunch but I sense genuine optimism and excitement about what's to come. The hot, sunny weather all week played its part too, and everyone has ordered more of the same in July/August 2012.

The world's broadcasters will go home in a positive mood, confident that LOCOG, the ODA and OBS will deliver the 'great' Games they have promised, and looking forward to coming back again for another check on progress next year.


  • Comment number 1.

    In my younger working life I use to do a lot of driving with multi drop delivery's in London and every day I had to travel through where the new Olympic site is now being built. I can't believe the transformation that's taking place in the area. It really gives me hope for the future when I see all the new building going up and knowing once its finished, what a difference its going to make to so many peoples lifes.

    I only hope that Seb Coe and his fellow organisers fullfeel their promises regarding leaving a legacey. If we as a nation pull together, we should all do our best to promote the games and what it will leave behind. At the end of the day its for our childrens future and their childrens future that this London 2012 games is all about. Don't let it fail.


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