ATHLETICS: Channel 4 hands 2013 World Championships rights to the BBC

Channel 4 have offloaded the live rights to the 2013 IAAF World Athletics Championships in Moscow to the BBC.

Both broadcasters reached a “commercial agreement” which will see the transfer of the broadcast rights to next year’s showpiece athletics event pass to the corporation.

The last World Championships in Daegu in 2011 were covered by Channel 4, but the broadcaster has decided to pull the plug on their agreement with the IAAF a year early after losing out to the BBC for the next term.

The corporation were due to take back the showcase track and field contract from Channel 4 in 2014 on a four-year deal that includes the World Championships coming to London in 2017.

Channel 4 is now understood to be concentrating its resources on holding onto the next Paralympic Games in 2016, as well as developing its Paralympic sports portfolio.

Both sides claim that the agreement reflects Channel 4’s acquisition earlier this year of a significantly enhanced portfolio of major horse racing events from January 2013, including The Grand National, The Derby and Royal Ascot.

The acquisition of the 2013 IAAF World Athletics Championships will see the BBC continue in its extensive support of Olympic sports in the build-up to Rio in 2016 and which culminates in 2017 when the Championships will be held at the Olympic Stadium in London.

It also adds to the breadth and depth of a current sports rights slate which includes major events such as the Olympics, FIFA World Cup, Commonwealth Games, Six Nations, Wimbledon, F1 and The Open Championship.

Commenting on the deal Martin Baker, Channel 4 Director of Commercial Affairs, says: “Since the deal for the 2011 and 2013 World Athletics Championships was agreed in 2010, Channel 4 has acquired the rights to the major events of UK horse racing and the BBC has announced that it will broadcast the 2015 and 2017 World Athletics Championships.

“We are pleased to have reached a commercial agreement with the BBC for the 2013 Championships which reflects the changing nature of both broadcasters’ sports portfolios.”

Barbara Slater, Director of BBC Sport says: ‘We are delighted to have secured the 2013 World Athletics Championships.

“It allows BBC Sport to build on the London 2012 Olympic legacy through coverage of the 2013, 2015 and 2017 World Championships.

“Added to the Commonwealth games in Glasgow in 2014 and the Rio Olympics in 2016 it will take the BBC audience on an Athletics journey from London 2012 to London 2017.”

In a surprise move in September 2010, Channel 4 secured the rights to the IAAF’s premier events for a four-year period.

But despite providing more hours of live coverage on TV than ever before, Channel 4 recieved criticism for the handling of its first and only World Athletics Championships in 2011 from Daegu, South Korea, when lead presenter Ortis Deley was replaced halfway through the event.

Rick Edwards took over for the remainder of the championships. He also fronted the Channel 4’s coverage of the IAAF World Indoor Championships in Istanbul earlier this year.

As well as being favourites to retain the Paralympic rights for Rio in 2016 after their acclaimed London 2012 broadcasts, Channel 4 intends to give extensive coverage the International Paralympic Committee’s World Athletics Championships, which will be held in Lyon in 2013.

The BBC will be the home of all major international athletics meetings in 2013, including every Diamond League event, extensive coverage of the indoor season featuring the European Championships in Gothenburg, plus the London Marathon, Great CityGames, Great North Run and much more..

Gabby Logan will replace John Inverdale as the BBC’s lead athletics presenter from 2013, with Jonathan Edwards deputising at the smaller events.

What are your thoughts on Channel 4 offloading the rights to the 2012 World Athletics Championships to the BBC? Comments below:

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5 Responses to ATHLETICS: Channel 4 hands 2013 World Championships rights to the BBC

  1. Jim says:

    Great news its back on the beeb. While C4 had all the best of intentions, im afraid Ortis and the ads ruined its reputation for good.

    Looks like a busy year of athletics, so will be great to have all the major events on BBC post Olympics.

  2. Michelle says:

    In my view they should have secured some of the UK Athletics rights and then that could have given time for their commentary team to bed in, and establish Channel 4 as THE athletics channel.

    Instead they gave us the car-crash that was their coverage of Daegu 2011, so well done BBC for getting them back.

  3. Mikey R says:

    Channel Four… Goodnight!

  4. Mikey R says:

    Cant help but feel this has been a huge missed opportunity for C4 to establish itself as a decent alternative to the BBCs celebrity obssessed athletics coverage.

    This episode could ruin C4s reputation as being the channel that develops alternative sports into popular cult classics, think of cricket and Football Italia as a couple of examples.

    Suppose the Paralympics has helped people forget the memories of the Otis shambles in Deagu though.

    I quite enjoyed what C4 did at the last Worlds, and I know people will think that C4 have sold the rights because people thought their coverage was rubbish, rather than the fact that C4 just didn’t want the rights and wanted to focus on other things.

    Had they got Claire Balding to do C4 athletics Im sure people would have been raving about it forever!

    In all, a great opportunity missed.

  5. benny Goodman says:

    Undoubtedly the coverage by Channel 4 was poor to indifferent so back to the Beeb for us all. I hope that Gabby Logan can bring a competence and feel for Track and Field that it deserves. Looking forward greatly to 2013

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