Last updated: February 2012


1. Sponsorship by Non-Commercial Bodies

The BBC mounts a number of public events, such as concerts and award ceremonies, which are held at outside venues and covered on air. These events are key to fulfilling the BBC's public purpose remit to extend its offering and enable the public from around the U.K. to have closer access to BBC services.

In some cases, in order to defray the costs to the licence payer, it may be acceptable to supplement the cost of mounting a public event by sponsorship from a non- commercial body. Such sponsorship can play an important role in enabling the BBC to stage ambitious cultural, music and performance events, reach audiences around the country and mount events which encourage and celebrate innovation, young talent, community initiatives and personal achievement.

No programme on a BBC publicly funded service may be sponsored. The money from the sponsor may be used only for the costs of mounting the event. No sponsorship money may be used for any broadcast costs. Accounts must show clear separation between event costs and broadcasting costs.

Sponsorship of a BBC on-air event must not give the impression that a BBC programme or service has been sponsored.

Sponsorship of BBC on-air events must comply with:

the Statement of Policy on Alternative Finance which has been agreed by the BBC Trust and the Secretary of State for Culture, Media and Sport

this Guidance and Section 16 of the BBC Editorial Guidelines

the BBC's Fair Trading Guidelines and, in particular, must be designed to minimise any negative competitive impacts in the marketplace.

Any proposal for sponsorship of a BBC on-air event must be referred well in advance to Chief Adviser Editorial Policy and the relevant Director for approval.



2. Corporate Support

The BBC does not accept sponsorship by commercial bodies for on-air BBC events.  

There is no change of policy concerning the acceptability of corporate support for BBC charitable initiatives.
(See Guidance on Cross-BBC Charity Fundraising Initiatives.)

There is no change of policy concerning BBC off-air activities and events. Where appropriate, BBC off-air events may be sponsored by commercial companies.
(See Guidance on BBC Off-Air Events.)

The policy on BBC on-air coverage of third party sponsored events remains unchanged. As the BBC Trust has pointed out, sponsors of third party events should be given fair credits as set out in Section 16 of the BBC Editorial Guidelines.

3. Acceptable Non-Commercial Sponsors for BBC On Air Events

Acceptable sponsors: - non-commercial bodies such as suitable charities, trusts and foundations, regional development agencies, local authorities, appropriate government bodies or agencies, educational and other public or non-commercial institutions. For example, sponsorship such as that which was received from the Tabor Foundation for Young Musician of the Year, continues to be acceptable.

Unacceptable sponsors: Commercial companies and other commercial bodies, (including public/private partnerships) which compete directly in a commercial market.

The choice of sponsor should not undermine the BBC's integrity, impartiality or independence and the sponsorship arrangements should not bring the BBC into disrepute.

The suitability of all sponsors must be approved by the Chief Adviser, Editorial Policy who will consult with the Chief Adviser, Fair Trading where appropriate.


4. BBC On Air Events Which May Accept Sponsorship from Non-Commercial Bodies

Sponsorship of on-air events by non-commercial bodies is restricted to BBC award ceremonies, concerts, performance and cultural events and events or schemes which encourage innovation, young talent, artistic endeavour, community initiatives and personal achievement. Such events should be clearly distinctive and of manifest public value.

(In some cases individual awards may be sponsored at such events, in accordance with the detailed guidance in Part Two.)

News and Current Affairs on-air events and events based on consumer programmes dealing with a range of topics must not be sponsored.

There should be a presumption against the conversion of established programme titles into sponsored events and new sponsored events should only be mounted where there is a strong justification as to why the event would not be possible without sponsorship.

The sponsorship of any new BBC on-air event or the sponsorship of any event which has previously  been funded by the  licence-fee, without sponsorship, must be approved by the relevant Director and Chief Adviser Editorial Policy who will consult with the Chief Adviser, Fair Trading.

4.1 Seeking Sponsorship

The BBC sponsorship website has closed and will not re-open. The BBC will not advertise any sponsorship opportunities for its events - in the press, online or in other media. In accordance with Fair Trading guidelines, the BBC may make information available as appropriate to relevant non-commercial bodies about the relatively small number of BBC events eligible for sponsorship and make explicit the limitations imposed by this guidance. Any information made available to possible sponsors of BBC on-air events must give no suggestion whatsoever that "on-air rights packages" are available to sponsors.

5. Sports Personality of the Year

In July 2008, the BBC Trust issued its findings in relation to complaints concerning Sports Personality of the Year 2007.  The Trust made a number of recommendations concerning SPOTY and said that it would not be appropriate to seek a further sponsor for the SPOTY event after the contract expired at the end of 2008.



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