BSkyB: pay-TV helps sports to grow

UK pay-TV operator BSkyB has claimed that income from broadcasting plays a “key role in supporting the financial sustainability of many sports”.

According to research commissioned by Sky, revenue from broadcast rights represents a “substantial” part of the total funding for various sports, including cricket, football and rugby, ranging from between 22% and 58% in 2008. Much of those funds are invested at the ‘grass roots’ level, Sky said, adding that long-term broadcast deals allow sports organisations to plan ahead and invest in the sport’s development.

The operator also claimed that multichannel coverage leads to much greater “awareness of, and engagement with the sport”. The report found that multichannel broadcasters contribute over 95% of sports broadcast hours in the UK and that between 2005 and 2007, sports coverage increased by over 60% to 131,194 hours.

Sky will use the research to lobby the review panel looking into the UK system of certain listed events being reserved for free-to-air TV. It wants to see the rules relaxed so that governing bodies have more control over how they sell their rights.