Euro 2008 on the BBC
The BBC and ITV have agreed with Uefa that we'll have the rights to Euro 2008. Needless to say, we are extremely pleased with that outcome. As some of you mentioned in an earlier posting, not having Euro 2008 was the big gap in our portfolio of major events - because we already had the rights to the Olympics in Beijing and London, and to the World Cups in 2010 and 2014.
But the successful outcome now means we can promise you an amazing summer of sport in 2008 as we journey through Austria and Switzerland for the football and then to China for the Olympic Games.
Better still, this will be another event for which we have a rich package of rights: live television shared with ITV; TV highlights including on-demand; radio on Five Live; broadband; and mobile rights. That means we can deliver top BBC Sport where and when you want it, and the successful experiment of streaming matches to PCs during last year's World Cup will be repeated next summer.
It's probably worth saying, at the time of a successful negotiation, that the sports rights market remains very tough. The BBC still has one of the strongest portfolios of any public service broadcaster in the world, and our future strategy is based around both delivering the landmark events - like World Cups and Olympics - and being excellent in the content we offer across a range of services, including Five Live and this website. But inflation in some contracts (though fortunately not all of them) is running at anything from 40 per cent to 60 per cent or even higher, at a time when our licence fee income has been set to rise at just 3 per cent - and falling.
We will therefore continue to have to make decisions about priorities, but the BBC is committed to remaining as strong as it possibly can be in sport. And be wary of the people who criticise us if we lose anything but also attack any increase in the licence fee: their sums don't add up!
But the biggest question about Euro 2008 is the obvious one: will any home nations make it to the finals? As head of BBC Sport I'm unambiguously in favour of as many of our teams getting there as possible, so in the coming months I'll be cheering for all the nations of the UK - and probably for Ireland too if Wales can't make it. But even if we have to settle for France and Germany and Italy in action on our screens next summer, it should still be a fantastic tournament and one we hope you'll enjoy with us.