BBC output and staffing for the Olympics
Probably the biggest single theme in this blog has been the record amount of content we'll be offering from the London Olympic Games - a total of around 2,500 hours of live sport - supplemented by tv, radio and online coverage around the clock of the largest sporting event ever held in the UK.
Pulling it all together, the highlights are:
- At peak, 24 live HD channels meaning you can watch every venue from first thing in the morning to last thing at night
- Comprehensive coverage on 5 Live, supplemented by a new temporary digital radio station - 5 Live Olympics Extra
- First ever 3D broadcast coverage of the Olympics to include the ceremonies and the 100m final live on the BBC
- Super Hi Vision test transmissions in Glasgow, Bradford and London - also a world first
- News presentation, including 24-hour-a-day news on all platforms at home and abroad
Now, as part of our commitment to being completely transparent about what we're up to - with previous blogs about our ticket policy and our accommodation plans - I'm going to outline the consequences of this airtime commitment for our staffing during the Games.
1 - The massive increase in output - with four times as many TV channels and an extra radio station compared with Beijing, and double the overall number of hours.
2 - A home Games, where there will be more coverage by BBC News and our Nations and Regions alongside the predicted greater level of interest in the sport.
To illustrate the first point, providing 24 digital channels means that we need extra commentators and pundits. Otherwise there'd be nobody to explain what's going on at 26 different sports.
And whereas in Beijing we went on air pretty much straight into the opening ceremony, in London we're expecting a full day of ceremonial events and news coverage about the way the capital and the whole of the country are gearing up for the start of the Games.
The opening ceremony for the Olympic Games takes place in the Olympic Stadium on Friday 27 July. Picture: Getty Images.
Throughout, audiences will expect us to report on security, travel and organisational issues alongside the live sport on a significantly different scale to Athens or Beijing.
There will be some critics who challenge these kind of numbers, and indeed who would attack any number greater than a dozen, so let me give a few quick facts for context.
Big events require significant staffing levels.
Our American colleagues at NBC have used over 2,800 staff at previous Olympics, while The Times reported that there were 380 staff working on Sky Sports' excellent host-broadcasting operation for last year's Champions League final at Wembley. Sky have said in the past that 130 people are involved in covering a single Premier League game.
Meanwhile, there's also the very strange argument that it's a problem if the BBC staffing levels are greater than the size of Team GB - as if a Team GB of 1,000 people would then make it ok for us to have 999.
In fact, we have to cover all the nations taking part in the Olympics; and our teams are driven by the scale of the overall coverage, not the number of British athletes competing.
Then there's the question about how many of the BBC staff will come down from Sport's new home in Salford, and the answer is just 23 per cent.
Most of our people are London-based because they're either in our core 2012 planning team, which has remained in the capital, or in our News operation.
For those who do travel down, there will be overnight stays; but we've always been clear that almost all of them would have qualified for it anyway given the need to start early, finish late and get to venues on time - and many will be put up in low-cost student-type accommodation.
At every stage of the BBC 2012 operation, we've been conscious of the need to run as efficient an operation as we can do and to spend our budget wisely.
But equally we know that British audiences expect us to cover these Games well, and it's a once-in-a-lifetime moment for this country where the broadcasting will be required to live up to the event.
We believe we're striking that balance, and we'll aim to supply our best-ever range of content this summer to tens of millions of people.