Listed events review needs to kick-start longer term debate about sport on TV

CCPR today responded to David Davies's Review of Free-to-air Listed Events by saying that the recommendations need to be part of a longer term look at the way sport is televised in the UK.

CCPR, which maintains that individual national governing bodies are best placed to make decisions about how their events are televised, believes that Davies' review highlights a number of important issues.

Tim Lamb, CCPR chief executive, said:

"A number of sports governing bodies and their ability to invest in grassroots sport are likely to be deeply affected if these recommendations are adopted and the Secretary of State should consider that carefully.

"But the speed at which the broadcasting landscape is changing means that these recommendations may only be an interim measure. What is more important is that we secure a consensus on how sport is broadcast in the digital age, particularly after digital switchover in 2012. Widespread access to digital TV for the vast majority of households will change forever the way sports rights are bought, shared and broadcast. And that is only three years away. That's what we now need to plan for."

The review panel also recognised the role CCPR's voluntary code plays in securing access to major sporting events. Signatories to the code commit themselves to ensuring that major events are broadcast on free-to-air television either in live or highlights form and that at least 5% of the income generated is then re-invested in the future development of sport.

"The review acknowledges that the code provides a way of finding an appropriate balance between audience reach and grassroots investment. Ministers, broadcasters and sports rights-owners now need to thrash out how the code might form the basis of a mutually acceptable way forward on sports broadcasting. We have shared goals but we need a way forward that suits the people participating in sport, as well as those watching it."