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Boxing and bowling on the BBC

Roger Mosey | 17:05 UK time, Thursday, 8 November 2007

Thanks for the large and generally very positive response to the news about our new deal with the Football League.

Mysteriously, my blog managed to convert itself into a discussion about Rugby League - which I've blogged about in the past and will again.

But now I want to combine some good news about boxing with an apology for fans of bowls.

You'll have seen we announced earlier this week that we're re-showing the Joe Calzaghe fight with Mikkel Kessler this coming Saturday. It was by widespread agreement a fantastic performance by Calzaghe, and it's got him talked about again as a potential winner of Sports Personality of the Year.

The live rights to the fight were with Setanta Sports, and they've also had repeat rights this week. So the first available terrestrial showing was this coming Saturday - and we know from the audience response that many, many people would like to see what happened in the early hours of last Sunday in Cardiff.

Joe Calzaghe after winning the super middleweight title against Mikkel Kessler

We only knew we had the rights for certain a few days ago, so we had to do what the schedulers call "going against billing" - making a schedule change that was too late for listings magazines.

In those circumstances we thought the best placing was at 1.10pm on Saturday - straight after Football Focus and the earliest opportunity we had to show the boxing to an audience running into the millions.

Unfortunately, that means we have to shorten the slot for the International Open Bowls from Sheffield - so it will now start at 2.10pm.

Since some members of my family are bowls players, I know that this won't go down too well in some quarters. But the bowls will be shown as advertised on our interactive services, available to 85% of the population, and if you press the red button on Saturday lunchtime it will be there. It will also run as billed through till 4.30pm and Final Score will follow.

I know people get irritated by late changes to Radio Times and by curtailment of things they enjoy. But digital services allow us to offer more choice and to serve as many people as possible; and I also think it's right that we should have some flexibility in our schedule.

It was a late addition to our portfolio to cover the New York Marathon last Sunday but it paid off both in audience terms (a peak of almost 3 million) and as a terrific story about Paula Radcliffe - who's also back in the SPOTY hunt.

This Saturday we already know the outcome of the fight, but we hope it's still enjoyable for everyone who hasn't yet seen it.

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