BBC Sport

BBC Sport

BBC Sport is the sports division of the BBC. It became a fully dedicated division of the BBC in 2000. It incorporates programmes such as "Match of the Day", "Grandstand" (discontinued in early 2007), "Test Match Special", "Ski Sunday", "Rugby Special" and coverage of the Wimbledon Tennis Championships.

BBC Sport's websiteCite web|url=|title=BBC Sport Website|accessdate=2007-03-30] is also the UK's biggest and most popular sport website and is increasingly adding video and audio coverage to its scores and text news services.

Due to the public status of the BBC, advertising is (officially) forbidden and as a result, sports matches covered by BBC Sport are not (strictly speaking) allowed to be sponsored, although the present commercialisation of sport makes this almost impossible in practice. In the face of increased competition from its rival broadcasters the BBC has softened its stance and is now contractually obliged to refer to certain competitions by their sponsored name under the terms of broadcasting rights deals.

BBC Sport launched a trial of the High Definition television format [ [ BBC to trial high-definition TV] BBC News Online; 8 November 2005] of the 2006 Football World Cup in HDTV as part of a wider trial of that format by the BBC. With the official launch of BBC HD, live football matches and golf have led the channel's sports output, and the BBC is rumored to be studying the possibility of airing Premier League highlights in HD.

BBC Sport Interactive was launched in June 2008 on BBCi, it is available on digital cable, satellite and terrestrial by pressing the red button and selecting page 300.

ports which BBC Sport holds rights to show


One of the BBC Sport's most prized pieces of sport is the Wimbledon Tennis Championships. The BBC has televised Wimbledon since 1937 and today produces over 900 hours of footage for display in 159 different countries. [ [ Wimbledon Website - The Championships and The All England Lawn Tennis Club ] ] . BBC One and BBC Two show coverage from 12 noon until 9pm each day. As well as this digital viewers have the option to view uninterrupted coverage of up to five alternative games on BBCi.

Coverage is presented by Sue Barker, while the Wimbledon highlights, titled Today at Wimbledon are fronted by John Inverdale. Other commentators and analysts include John McEnroe, Boris Becker, Jimmy Connors, John Lloyd, Martina Navratilova, Virginia Wade, Sam Smith, Tracy Austin, Greg Rusedski, Tim Henman, Barry Davies, Andrew Castle and Chris Bradnam.

Furthermore, the BBC shows live coverage of both the French Open and the Australian Open, each with the majority of coverage on BBCi and important games, including both finals shown on BBC One or BBC Two. It also provides coverage of all the British Davis Cup teams matches, Queen's Club Championships and Eastbourne as well as each December the Masters Tennis at Albert Hall.

The BBC currently holds the broadcast rights for Wimbledon until 2014.


The BBC hold joint rights to show the FIFA World Cup until 2014 with ITV. A near equal split of group stage and knockout stage games are shown, including a semi final, and the final which is shown on both networks. A similar agreement exists for the European Championship. All games other than the final group games which clash are shown on BBC One or BBC Two, plus BBC HD. During those clashing games the game not shown on BBC One is shown on BBCi. There are also nightly highlights on and extensive interactive options. The African Nations Cup has also aired on the BBC's various channels in recent years.

Some Scotland away games are shown live. The BBC also broadcast highlights of all other Scotland matches. This coverage is usually shown on BBC One or BBC Two in Scotland only and simulcast on BBCi for the rest of the UK. Similar highlights arrangements exist for some of the Wales and Northern Ireland games. Scottish Cup and CIS Insurance Cup coverage is available on BBC One or BBC Two in Scotland, and on BBCi throughout the rest of the country. Similar coverage exists for various Welsh and Northern Irish club competitions.

The BBC also show extensive highlights from the Barclays Premier League. Match of the Day shows highlights of each Saturday's games while the Sunday games are covered in Match of the Day 2. Football Focus airs each Saturday lunchtime to preview the weekend's games, followed later by up to the minute game reports in Score through the afternoon on BBCi. As the final whistles approach, coverage switches over to BBC One in England, while Scottish viewers will be able to see Sportscene at this time for special focus on the SPL and the other Scottish divisions. SPL highlights are shown, also under the Sportscene title on Monday evenings. The late Saturday afternoon slot in Wales is filled by Wales on Saturday which features detailed reports on matches involving the Welsh football league clubs and the Welsh Premier League. In Northern Ireland a similar service is available, titled Final Score from Northern Ireland.

Beginning in 2009, the BBC will air ten Football League Championship matches live annually, as well as both legs of a Carling Cup semi-final exclusively live and shared live coverage of the Final with Sky Sports. It will also offer Football League and Carling Cup highlights shows.

Match of the Day and many other live games and highlights shows are anchored by Gary Lineker, with Ray Stubbs also presenting live games along with hosting Final Score. Manish Bhasin is the current host of Football Focus. Scottish coverage is presented by Dougie Donnelly and Dougie Vipond. Jason Mohammed is the host of Wales on Saturday and other Welsh football. The main pundits are Alan Hansen, Alan Shearer, Lee Dixon, and Mark Lawrenson. The BBC's main commentators are Jonathan Pearce, Steve Wilson and Guy Mowbray and BBC Sport Scotland's main commentator is Paul Mitchell. Euro 2008 saw the retirement of the long-standing and popular commentator John Motson from live football commentary, though he is expected to continue working on highlights programmes and BBC Radio 5 Live. Other football hosts and reporters include Gabby Logan, Adrian Chiles, Celina Hinchcliffe and Jake Humphrey.

Rugby union

The BBC holds exclusive rights to the Six Nations championship in the UK. It shows all matches in the tournament live on either BBC One or BBC Two. Coverage of these games is complemented by an interactive service on BBCi. The BBC hold additional rights to the Autumn Internationals for the Irish, Scottish and Welsh sides, as well as highlights of the English team; coverage is again on BBC One or BBC Two.

The BBC holds exclusive rights to show the EDF Energy Cup and shows some games across the UK and some on BBC Two in Wales only and BBCi for the rest of the country. The BBC holds joint right to show the Magners League, along with Setanta Sports and S4C which it shows on Friday evenings on BBC Two in Wales and occasionally in Northern Ireland and Scotland and across the rest of the UK on BBCi. Highlights from the Magners League are shown in Scrum V on BBC Two in Wales and BBCi. It is also interesting to note that BBC Sport produces the Welsh language S4C's coverage of the Magners League and EDF Energy Cup under the "Y Clwb Rygbi" brand. This is because the BBC is obliged to provide S4C with several hours of programming a week. BBC Two in Wales often shows Wales national rugby union team under-20 Six Nations games, which are also shown on BBCi in England, Scotland and Northern Ireland.

BBC Sport's rugby union coverage is currently presented by John Inverdale, Gabby Logan, Jill Douglas and Gareth Lewis. The main pundits used are Jeremy Guscott, Jonathan Davies, Andy Nicol,Keith Wood and Stuart Davies. The BBC's commentary team includes Eddie Butler, Nick Mullins, Andrew Cotter, Brian Moore and Jonathan Davies. Bill McLaren was the BBC's main commentator for many years before his retirement in 2002.

Rugby league

The BBC covers the Challenge Cup from the round in which the Super League clubs enter. The coverage is shown on BBC One and Two and will usually consist of two matches per round, one on a Saturday and the other on a Sunday. Highlights of the Super League are shown under the Super League Show title is shown late on a Sunday evening on BBC Two. The show airs at an earlier mid-morning time-slot for viewers in some of the BBC's northern regions, where Rugby League is most popular. The National League play-offs are also covered on the Super League Show. From 2009 the BBC will hold the rights to show one England international each year.

Rugby League coverage is presented by Clare Balding with the Super League Show fronted by Harry Gration. Ray French and Jonathan Davies are the BBC's commentary team while Robbie Paul and Jeremy Guscott are amongst the pundits.


After losing the rights to Formula One and the World Rally Championship, the BBC dabbled in British and World Superbikes for a few years — often showing the World Championship version live. In 2003 it also won the rights to the MotoGP World Championship. After a successful first season, coverage was expanded with more live races, and the contract extended until 2009. After dropping the World and British Superbikes, The BBC now shows all MotoGP races, with many qualifying sessions live. Suzi Perry is the host with commentary from Charlie Cox and Steve Parrish. Television coverage of Formula One will return to the BBC in 2009 after a five year deal was announced in March 2008, replacing ITV's existing coverage. [cite web |url=|title=Formula One Administration Ltd announces new BBC Agreement|accessdate=2008-03-20] Although no deal has yet been confirmed, Martin Brundle is expected to be confirmed as one of two commentators.cite news | url = | title = Brundle denies BBC deal is done | first = Jonathan | last = Noble | date = 2008-09-29 | accessdate = 2008-09-29 | work = | publisher = Haymarket Publications]

BBC Sport also covers the Isle of Man TT.


The BBC holds the exclusive terrestrial rights to show Summer Olympics and Winter Olympics and has shown live coverage of every Summer Olympics since 1960. This long-standing association between the Olympic Games and the BBC will now include coverage of the 2012 Summer Olympics to be held in London. Presenters for the Summer Olympics and Winter Olympics have included many of the corporation's sports presenters, such as David Coleman, Frank Bough, Des Lynam, Steve Rider and Sue Barker.


For many years, the BBC has covered the biggest events in athletics, stretching as far back as 1954, when Roger Bannister broke the four-minute mile. Fronted for many years by David Coleman, until his retirement after the 2000 Summer Olympics, events such as the Commonwealth Games, the World Championships, the European Athletics Championships, domestic British athletics and mass-participation events such as the London Marathon and the Great North Run have been and still are broadcast. The athletics presenting team currently (2007) consists of Sue Barker, Hazel Irvine, Colin Jackson, Steve Cram, Jonathan Edwards, Stuart Storey, Paul Dickenson, Brendan Foster and Michael Johnson.

Horse Racing

Although the amount of horse racing on the BBC has declined in recent years, many big races are still to be found on the BBC. The Grand National has for many years been one of the biggest attractions on "Grandstand" with audiences around or often in excess of 10 million for the race on a Saturday afternoon. Coverage of other events such as Royal Ascot and the Epsom Derby are also broadcast, with presenter Clare Balding fronting the coverage.

The Derby was won back after many years in 2001, when the BBC also gained rights to the Epsom Oaks, which had only ever previously been shown by ITV and Channel 4 (until 2001, the commercial broadcasters had always held the Epsom contract, but from 1960-1974, in 1977, and in 1979 the BBC had shown the Derby simultaneously with ITV, because it was a protected event which could not be exclusive to either channel). However, many important races have disappeared from the BBC in recent years: the Cheltenham Festival and other Cheltenham meetings went to Channel 4 in 1995, meetings from Newbury moved to Channel 4 in 2002, and after 50 years Glorious Goodwood and other Goodwood meetings were lost to Channel 4 in 2007. Also, in 2007 the Irish Derby, which had been included in "Grandstand" and later "Sunday Grandstand" for decades, was only shown on At The Races.

The most famous BBC TV racing broadcaster was Peter O'Sullevan, who became one of the first ever TV sports commentators in the immediate post-war years, and stayed with the BBC until 1997.


The BBC holds exclusive UK rights to live coverage to two of the four men's major golf championships, The Open and the US Masters. Led by veteran commentator Peter Alliss, the team also cover four other European Tour events held in Britain - the PGA Championship, the World Match Play Championship, the British Masters and the Scottish Open, although live coverage of these will be restricted to the weekend's play from 2009 under the new contract negotiated with the European Tour. Sky Sports will cover Thursday and Friday play live. [cite web
title=European Tour announces new Television Agreement
publisher=PGA European Tour
] It also covers the Women's British Open. Highlights of the Ryder Cup can also be seen on the BBC. Gary Lineker is the lead presenter of men's golf on the BBC and Hazel Irvine presents the women's events.


The 1970s BBC2 programme "Pot Black" was arguably the reason for the sport's great popularity over the last 30 years. Snooker produced the largest ever audience for BBC2 with the 1985 World Snooker Championship final between Steve Davis and Dennis Taylor pulling in 19 million viewers just after midnight. The sport always pulls in large viewing figures for the BBC through tournaments such as the World Snooker Championships, the Masters, the UK Championship and the Grand Prix. The coverage is regularly hosted by Hazel Irvine and Ray Stubbs.


The BBC carried highlights of the 2007 ICC Cricket World Cup, held in the West Indies. It also carried some highlights of the 2006-07 Ashes series, including the five match test series and also the Commonwealth Bank Series between Australia, England & New Zealand. They are also expected to provide highlights of the 2009 ICC World Twenty20 which is being staged in England.

BBCi offered live audio commentary (a simulcast of Radio 5 Live) and scorecards through its "Test Match Special" programme for the World Cup, and continues to do so for all of England's matches.


In September 2007, the BBC acquired the exclusive UK free-to-air rights to the Super Bowl through 2009. [cite web
title=BBC to show Super Bowl live
publisher=Digital Spy
] The package also includes highlights from a featured NFL match each week on the BBC Sport website, and beginning in 2008, live coverage of games at Wembley Stadium [] .

Jake Humphrey is the BBC's American football presenter and the studio pundits are Mike Carlson and Rod Woodson. Match commentators include Dick Stockton and Sterling Sharpe; the BBC uses the NFL's international feed.

Other sports

As well as all of this, BBC shows the BDO World Darts Championships, coverage of the Skiing World Cup under its "Ski Sunday" banner; and briefly covers sports such as road and track cycling, sailing, badminton, table tennis, squash, equestrianism, gymnastics and other minority sports in an attempt to publicise the type of sports that will make up the forthcoming London 2012 Olympics. Presenters for these sports include Jill Douglas and Phil Jones who often report for other areas of BBC Sport.

Previous coverage


One of BBC Sport's major criticisms is that it no longer shows any live cricket games, having lost coverage of the Test Matches to Channel 4 and later Sky Sports. Coverage was fronted by Tony Lewis for many years. The BBC was also widely criticised for not even bidding for the rights to show home Test matches when the next set of rights between 2006 and 2009 went up for sale, a decision which it also took for the next contract running until 2013 with the corporation claiming it could neither afford the cost of the rights or fit into their schedules. That honour went exclusively (and rather controversially) to Sky, with nightly highlights on Five. BBC Radio Five Live and BBC Radio Five Live Sports Extra do broadcast England matches and some county cricket (along with the BBC's various local stations); many of these radio commentaries are simulcast on BBCi with live scorecards.


The BBC covered Formula One for many decades until 1996, initially covering the odd race on the calendar, before introducing in 1976 a programme which followed the entire championship. Formula One was shown under the 'Grand Prix' banner, races were commentated on by Murray Walker, with many co-commentators including James Hunt and Jonathan Palmer. Coverage was expanded in 1996, when all qualifying and races were shown live - many with Steve Rider fronting the coverage. The loss of the rights to ITV was seen as an example of the BBC Sport department's decline in the late 1990s, although as with cricket, the BBC continues to broadcast every race live on its radio services. It was announced on March 20 2008 that the BBC had regained the television rights to Formula One for five years starting from the 2009 season.

The BBC also broadcast the World Rally Championships until 2001, when Channel 4 bought the rights. WRC is now shown on Dave and Eurosport. The British Touring Car Championship was another event the BBC lost when ITV took the broadcasting rights in 2002.

ports Forum

The BBC also hosts a sports forum. Named BBC 606. It covers a large variety of topics which include cricket, football, rugby (league and union), tennis, athletics, motorsport and many more. Viewers can create their own account. Allowing them to write their own articles and the ability to comment on the topics of others. Members can also rate topics on a scale of 1 to 5 (the greater the number, the better the member thinks of it). Staff members can select topics from various catergories and label them 'Hot Topics', providing a link to the article from its sports homepage.


ee also

*BBC News
*BBC Sports Personality of the Year
*Broadcasting of sports events

External links

*|id=sport|title=BBC Sport
*|id=|title=BBC 606

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