Premier league radio rights
As you may have seen, the Premier League has today awarded the rights for Premier League football commentary over the next three years. Radio rights work in a very similar way to television with live matches divided into seven packages based on kick-off times and days.
The BBC has been successful in four of the seven packages - the games which kick off on Saturday lunchtimes, first choice of the Saturday 3pm games, the Sunday 4pm kick off and Monday and Tuesday evenings. This is two fewer packages than 5 live currently has - the other packages covering the Sunday early kick-off and Saturday evenings/Wednesday evenings have been awarded to TalkSport. As was announced last week, Absolute Radio have won the second choice Saturday afternoon games - the package currently held by TalkSport.
What this means is that 5 live will still have more live Premier League football than anyone else including what would generally be seen as the biggest matches. But it's also true that we will have less live Premier League football from next season which of course is a disappointment to us and I know many of our listeners.
In our bidding for these packages, we have had to balance the vital importance of live football to our audience with the need to ensure we are offering value-for-money to all licence fee payers and an awareness of the overall radio market for football commentary. It's fair to say it's been a far more competitive process this year than previously.
Winning four packages still leaves us in a position where 5 live can offer an outstanding service of live commentary as part of our overall mix of sports programmes - and as well as the Premier League, we also have Champions' League, FA Cup, Europa League, Football League and Carling Cup matches plus internationals including of course the World Cup this summer.
Live football is a vital foundation for us and we will be working hard to ensure we offer the best and most comprehensive service for football fans that we possibly can. I'd welcome your thoughts on what we can do better - both in terms of live coverage and as we think about our programme schedule for next season.