Government moves to ‘future proof’ British sport’s free-to-air crown jewels


Louis van Gaal

Major sporting events such as the Olympics, the FA Cup, the World Cup, the Rugby World Cup final, the Grand National and Wimbledon will continue to be shown on free TV channels under Government plans to safeguard the UK’s sporting heritage.

At present the TV rights to sporting “crown jewels” must be offered to free-to-air channels which can be received by at least 95 per cent of the population.

Andy Murray
Andy Murray holds the trophy after beating Milos Raonic of Canada in the men’s singles final at the 2016 Wimbledon Tennis Championship CREDIT: KIRSTY WIGGLESWORTH/AP

Viewers are opting increasingly to watch television programmes and sports on new devices like tablets and smartphones via a paid provider such as Sky, Netflix or Amazon.

Daily Telegraph 2012 Reporting on the Opening ceremony of the London 2012 Olympics
Daily Telegraph 2012 Reporting on the Opening ceremony of the London 2012 Olympics CREDIT: THE TELEGRAPH

However, ministers will be given the ability to “future-proof” free-to-air broadcast for certain “at risk” events through a planned amendment to the Digital Economy Bill. A Parliamentary vote on the planned changes is expected to be tabled next month.

The government stressed the importance of accessibility of top class sport in its 2015 ‘Sporting Future’ strategy  document.

Jockey Nina Carberry
Jockey Nina Carberry flies off her horse during day three of the Grand National Meeting at Aintree Racecourse on April 9th 2016 CREDIT: TOM JENKINS/REUTERS

The report’s author’s noted: “Sport loses much of its ability to deliver positive outcomes for the public when people do not have the ability to watch or experience it”.

Culture, Media and Sport Secretary Karen Bradley said: “We want to future-proof these regulations so that in an ever-changing digital landscape the public will still have access to the crown jewels of sport on free-to-air channels. Sport has a unique power to have a hugely positive impact on people’s lives and it is right that the biggest events are available to all with their ability to inspire and encourage participation.”

[Source:-The Telegraph]