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Old 26th July 2012, 22:21   #1
Paul Brooks

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Default BBC loses exclusive radio rights to FA Cup and must share with TalkSport

UTV Media-owned TalkSport also wins rights to broadcast England friendlies in new six-year deal

John Plunkett, Thursday 26 July 2012 17.14 BST

The BBC has lost exclusive radio rights to the FA Cup, sharing the world's oldest domestic football competition for the first time with a commercial rival, TalkSport.

It will be the first time TalkSport has broadcast the FA Cup, in a new six-year deal which also includes England friendly internationals.

UTV Media-owned TalkSport has also bagged the rights to broadcast FA Cup games around the world as part of its new global broadcast operation due to launch at the beginning of next season.

The BBC has traditionally had exclusive radio rights to the FA Cup, to the consternation of TalkSport and prompting criticism from the BBC Trust three years ago, which said it was not value for money.

Thursday's announcement of the rights-sharing deal with TalkSport comes after the BBC, in the midst of a cost-cutting process aimed at saving 700m, said it will have to be ruthless over which sports rights it bids for in the future, and saved millions of pounds by sharing its Formula 1 TV rights with BSkyB.

TalkSport programme director Moz Dee said: "It's great for us because it opens up a whole new market for commercial radio and opportunity for sponsors and advertisers who want to be involved.

"It's interesting because is this the start of things to come, where the BBC having exclusive rights to this sort of thing is becoming a little bit more difficult for them, politically but also fiscally.

"The BBC has done a fantastic job with the FA Cup and I am sure they will continue to do so."

The deal also marks the first time TalkSport will broadcast England games outside of the World Cup and European Championships. The BBC retains the rights to all England qualifying matches for the big tournaments.

Unlike the sharing of television football rights, where games are divided up between broadcasters, both BBC Radio 5 Live and TalkSport are free to broadcast whichever games they choose, raising the prospect of going head to head.

TalkSport International will launch in August, having already bought the global rights outside of Europe to all 380 Premier League games, broadcasting them in English, Spanish and Mandarin.

The commercial broadcaster's FA Cup deal is for UK and global rights, including Europe. It also includes the Community Shield and selected England games.

TalkSport chief executive Scott Taunton said: "The opportunity to broadcast FA Cup games internationally has been a key part of our global plans for TalkSport Live and today's rights announcement opens up the European market to us. We are in the process of creating a network of global radio and distribution partners for TalkSport Live."

BBC Radio 5 live controller Adrian Van Klaveren added: "The agreement means we can continue to offer BBC Radio 5 Live listeners the best coverage of matches and tournaments which they really care about. We're delighted that we will continue to capture all the action and drama over the next six seasons."
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