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Premier league radio rights

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Adrian Van-Klaveren Adrian Van-Klaveren | 16:51 UK time, Thursday, 18 February 2010


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.

Adrian Van Klaveren is Controller of BBC Radio 5 live


  • Comment number 1.

    Oh dear. Another nail in the coffin losing a third of the football coverage. What a disaster.

    I can just imagine that the sports programming quota will continue, except there will be more talking sport with host, Colin Murray. God help us all. That's just going to accelerate the decline of the station and switching stations.

    Let's hope that 5Live Sport can keep its top talent (note: Colin Murray is not among their number) now it's lost two of the rights packages.

  • Comment number 2.

    This is shocking news! Radio 5 Live is meant to be the home of radio football, and now it can only offer commentary on just over half of the available Premier League games. The BBC is funded by public money - I'm sure it can comfortably outbid stations who rely on a declining advertising market for their income.

    5Live is my only station for sport at the moment, and I regularly listen to the Saturday evening game (because I don't subscribe to ESPN) and many other matches. However, if people like me have to switch to Talksport to listen to a match, some of us may not tune back.

    Many would argue that this year we have already seen a huge decline in the quality of the station's news output (see comments on other articles) and it sadly seems that the sport output may be heading in the same way.

    I genuinely believe that whoever is responsible for acquiring these rights should be considering their position. To paraphrase Oscar Wilde, loosing one package of Premier League rights may be regarded as misfortunate, to loose two looks like carelessness.

  • Comment number 3.

    Probably not a bad thing, Radio 5 still has plenty of football, but hopefully this will free up a little time for other sports, which would not be of such interest to commmercial stations.

    Indeed given that commercial radio seems very keen to cover the Premier league there is a public service argument for 5 live to cut back even further and cover sports that aren't picked up elsewhere.

    There is too much truth in the Radio Football Live cliche.

  • Comment number 4.

    Very disappointing news.

    As for the adjustments to the schedule, I would like to see Saturday evenings return to the full hour for Sports Report with 6-0-6 starting at 6-0-6! Perhaps taking the occasional Championship commentary if they're still going to be scheduled for that slot.

    I really hope the gap on Sunday afternoons will be filled by live sport, whether that is F1, Championship or SPL football or domestic rugby union or rugby league commentary. I really hope it will not end up being four hours of discussion ahead of the 4pm commentary.

  • Comment number 5.

    I don't think 5 Live should bid for rights commercial broadcasters are willing to bid for. If commercial radio stations are prepared to pay the money, the BBC should be prepared to spend more money on sports rights the commercial sector wouldn't pay for.

    5 Live has rights it doesn't use. Monday's League 1 match wasn't broadcast by 5 Live or 5 Live Sports Extra, even though it was of interest to fans of Charlton, Leeds, Norwich and Huddersfield, all of whom have good support. I am also aware that the big West Yorkshire derby won't be broadcast by 5 Live a week on Saturday.

    I'd like to think that the money saved will be used for better Football League coverage, but in reality it'll probably be spent on even more analysis, as if we don't get enough. When ever I tune into a 5 Live commentary, the team give me analysis instead of what I want, which is a description of what's happening on the pitch. Thee is so much sport taking place on Friday night. It includes football, rugby union and rugby league. 5 Live will probably be previewing the weekend's action instead of giving us a good commentary, in addition to the rugby league on Sports Extra.

    The money could also be used for improving the sound quality. The commentators sound like they can't pronounce their Ss. I'm sure they can. It is the equipment that is at fault.

  • Comment number 6.

    Oh Dear Adrian,your stewardship of 5 live really has been an unmitigated disaster hasn't it and now this !
    I'm sure that some heads are being banged together above yours and you'll be put out of your misery sometime in the near future so that the station can be saved from further embarrassment.
    I know-why don't you give Murray and Bacon even more air time and award them both a pay rise while you're at it !

  • Comment number 7.

    Easy, a full hour of Sports Report at 5 on a Saturday. Supporting a 3rd division team, I can never be bothered to wait until half time in the half 5 game for a mention of my team! Then a full 2nd reading of the football results at 6 followed by 606 at 6:06!!! Just need a decent presenter for that and all will be good!

    There is usually somethine else going on Sunday's so F1, rugby of either code or League football should easily fill the gap.

    One quick question: how would situations like this Sunday work next season with regard Liverpool and Man City?

  • Comment number 8.

    How about rewinding the clock Mr Van-Klaveren ? Take the station away from the vacuous celebrity tittle tattle, the Eastenders/X Factor/Big Brother or footballers playing away from home and introduce some serious journalism, some political analysis or maybe even some of the more interesting stuff from across the wider BBC network to fill the gap left by the loss of the football. Maybe you could even consider introducing a slot for horse-racing, the Channel 4 offering is getting very tired, and there are millions of "punters" who are not catered for anywhere, radio or television. This could be turned around and used as a fantastic opportunity to renew the once great name that this station had for journalism.

  • Comment number 9.

    Steve Bowbrick has closed the old 'Answering your questions about 5 live' blog by AVK because it has gone off topic!

    Yes we do need a message board because every time a thread is deemed off topic it is closed and so the discussions become fragmented and we have to keep going over old ground again and again.

    A deliberate ploy.

    Can we have a message board please Mr V-K?

  • Comment number 10.

    Linda1111 - agreed!

  • Comment number 11.

    Just typical that the Mr Bowbrick closed that blog. A couple of points --

    1. If there isn't a general comments blog then inevitably other blogs will be 'colonised'.
    2. The Answers blog was continuing to pose questions and request answers. I don't think it really went off topic at all. I think this was just an excuse to squash something that was getting embrassing.
    3. I hope everyone will write to tim dot davie at bbc dot co dot uk, the Head of BBC Audio and request a messageboard or at least an 'open' blog. The current setup is totally unacceptable.
    4. All hope that Mr Bowbrick was finally starting to encourage debate and participate in it were lost when he closed that blog.

    And finally, and most disappointingly,

    5. The questions asked two weeks ago haven't yet been answered.

  • Comment number 12.

    I also find it extremely strange that a blog headed up as ' 5Live blog -accountability '...... is then closed down !!

    Accountability my eye !

  • Comment number 13.

    I agree with you all, this is pathetic. BBC - We need a message board.

  • Comment number 14.

    The closure of the 'accountability' (ha!) blog is further proof that Five Lite just cannot bear to be criticized. As you've suggested ryanw, I've written to Tim Davie. A messageboard would overcome the problem of blogs going off-topic, and listeners would be able to debate programmes in a far more structured way than via the rather hit-and-miss opportunities offered by these blogs, which appear to be selected to limit, rather than open up, discussion. If Steve Bowbrick reads these messages, perhaps he could tell us where and when the answers to ryanw's last batch of questions are going to appear. Perhaps he could also assure us that they will be in a form that allows us to comment on the responses without being censored by having the forum closed down.

  • Comment number 15.

    What a strange ' journalistic ' world BBC 5live lives in.They are allowed to criticise others but any hint of criticism of their obviously much too sensitive and egotistical presenters, results in blogs being continuously down for going off topic.

    You couldn't make it up.

    Can we have a message board please ?

  • Comment number 16.

    Interesting in The Mail on Sunday today; respected football writer Ian Ridley reckons Murray, Spoony, Chapman and Savage should all be paid off as they are 'serious irritations'. Report of Gabby having a hissy fit in Paris last weekend. (No comment from the Beeb); Surelty she didn't do the 'do you know who I am routine? Sounds very much ike it; The Zapper column reports on the friction between Ms's Derbyshire and Fi Glover.

  • Comment number 17.

    It looks like we aren't allowed to criticise, we can only comment on what the 5Live Lite mandarins what us to comment on, increasingly we must keep out contributions to 140 characters and despite asking for feedback we're ignored.

    I might also remind everyone - in addition to the unanswered questions dating back as far as 20 November 2009 which I summarised on request for Mr Bowbrick -- Mr Van Klaveren told us he would be doing a Q&A blog "in the new year", we'll it's almost March and no sign of it.

    More sign of obfuscation, no answers, withholding information from license-fee payers on the cost of transport and accommodation, closing the "accountability" blog.

    I think these people - who are supposed to provide a 'service' to the license fee payers' think that this will die down quietly. Speaking personally, the more the duck and weave, don't answer our questions and close down perfectly reasonable and legitimate forums for debate the more likely I am to kick up a fuss.

    This isn't going to go away, so they may as well give the people what they want. After all, what harm does it do?

    I hope you all write to Tim Davie! 5Live needs a lot more scrutiny from the Head of BBC Audio.

  • Comment number 18.

    Ryan, I too will email Tim Davie.

    Can we have a message board please Mr V-K?

  • Comment number 19.

    Five Live covered Man City v Liverpool today. Colin Murray at the ground. Just such an embarrassment. At the end of arguably the dullest game of the season, with other games still in progress, he engages in a 'debate' with Robbie Savage for some 5 minutes. Savage seemed bemused by Murray's questioning (stock answer being 'I'm not really sure' - he's a pundit remember) and all the time we were waiting for final results from the other games. Who the hell is producing Murray? Is he out of control?

    Get him off and Eleanor back. PLease Mr AVK listen to YOUR station ... it is almost beyond terrible.

  • Comment number 20.


    Send a tweet to adrian..............................

    I am writing to Davie. I don't believe in twits or whatever they are called.

  • Comment number 21.

    It will be interesting to see how the reduced live football content alters the schedules. There are times now when the football chat on a Sunday sounds very forced given that it is often just a rehash of the Friday football chat, the Saturday sports show and a bit of blokey banter. With less commentary on offer it must surely be time to bring in better coverage of other sports.

    Can we have a message board please?

  • Comment number 22.

    I was listening also, JackStumps (comment no. 19) - it was excruiating. Noticed also that Steve Bowbrick had closed down yet another blog - it's censorship.

    Please may we have a Message Board?

  • Comment number 23.

    Jackstumps - Zapper column?

  • Comment number 24.

    This is dissapointing news of course but if we had to pick two packages to lose then it would ceertainly have been these two.

    I agree with Shaun #4. Returning the Saturday night schedule to the traditional schedule makes perfect sense it will provide a better service for all sports fans. An hour of Sports Report is a must. Then the full two hour 606.

    On Sunday you have an excellent oppertunity and I really hope you do not waste it. There will be plenty of sports that Five Live could provide commentary on and it would result in a much better balanced programme rather than the current premiership dominance.

    Obviously the majority of F1 races are in this slot, there are regularly Championship games, SPL games including the Old Firm derbies. Also rugby - it would be great to have regular Heineken Cup matches in this slot there is always a 1pm kick off on these weekends.

    But the massive dissapointment is the loss of Wednesday commentaries, I'm surprised the midweek fixtures are not a seperate package as I believe they are on the television. There is always more Premiership matches on Wednesdays than Tuesdays during midweek rounds.

    Adrian can you clear up what will happen on Sundays like this week just gone? Its confusing when there are several Sunday games after a european week. Will Five Live only be able to do the 4pm game with everything else on talksport or only one match each with the others not covered at all?

  • Comment number 25.

    Everyone's gone very quiet. Where are you all?

  • Comment number 26.

    So Adrian we now have less football on the "home of football" but we have more Richard Bacon and Colin Murray. I understand that you seem to think this is a good idea and it fits with your plan what I do not understand is where is the accountability for the many who disagree?
    There was a radio message board on points of view which was closed. Now we have blogs where you deign to tell us what you think and then run away. There is a massive lack of accountability and I feel that fivelive should not be your personal fiefdom...

  • Comment number 27.

    Something to pick up on. Stations that advertise Oyster and stations that offer Oyster. Is it always possible to see the difference?

    I'm unsure what the rail people expect from people who don't visit certain stations often, especially in proximity to London.

    Perhaps these first class fairs could pay for clear advertising for the rest of us.

    "When I asked him whether he thought standard-class passengers behaved differently from those with first class tickets, Sir Nicholas replied: "Yes, I do. They are a totally different type of people. There are lots of children, there is noise, there is activity." "

    Yes, only in that they have paid for a first class ticket. I frequently see people in first class carriages who have not bought first tickets, just because there is space and it is isn't busy.


    Perhaps these first class fairs could pay for clear advertising for the rest of us.

  • Comment number 28.

    This comment was removed because the moderators found it broke the house rules. Explain.


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