Four quarters, two channels
We're back with live NFL on Sunday - following the well-received BBC coverage of the Super Bowl earlier this year. It's the second regular season game to be held at Wembley, and the healthy audience we got for the highlights in 2007 has prompted us to take the whole match live this time round. And cheerleaders and fireworks, too, of course.
It marks a first in our use of different BBC channels. It'll start on BBC Two at 5pm - and then at 7pm it will move over to BBC Three for the final hour. I know switching channels isn't universally popular as some earlier blogs have shown, but this is a conscious experiment.
If BBC Three had unlimited hours, the whole match would pretty certainly have been live on Three. But as things stand, BBC Three has to share its digital channel space with CBBC - so there isn't an option of showing live sport on BBC Three during the afternoon or early evening. We therefore decided to launch the coverage on BBC Two, and then switch to Three as soon as it became available. This also has the benefit of allowing BBC Two to stick to its regular Sunday evening schedule.
Now there's a small minority of the population - just more than 10 per cent - who can get BBC Two but not BBC Three. To make sure they're catered for, live coverage from Wembley will be available throughout the match on this website for UK users; there's commentary on 5 Live Sports Extra; and then there'll be highlights on BBC Two just after midnight if you missed the whole thing or if you want to catch the best bits again.
I've been reading some of the message boards - our own 606 and others - and there's a perfectly understandable debate about the use of traditional mixed channels versus dedicated sports services. Our rationale remains a simple one: putting sport onto mainstream channels alongside a range of other programmes brings in considerably bigger audiences. It's sometimes slightly more difficult to navigate, but many more people will watch what we do on BBC Two or BBC Three than on a specialist channel.
Our NFL commitments aren't numerous: just this and the Super Bowl, but we've been encouraged by the reaction to what we've done so far. And this weekend has a good range of other BBC TV sports too: rugby union from Cardiff, racing from Aintree and Chepstow, MotoGP from Valencia, the start of the Rugby League World Cup - and our usual helpings of Match Of The Day. So a little American razzmatazz should, we hope, add some additional sparkle to a dark October night.