Government outlines plans to protect sport’s ‘crown jewels’ on free-to-air television

·1-min read
 (Getty Images)
(Getty Images)

Plans to protect the “crown jewels” of British sporting events on free-to-air television have been outlined by the Government.

A new white paper published on Thursday sets out to ensure events such as the World Cup and Wimbledon remain on the likes of BBC, ITV and Channel 4.

It will also to extend to the Rugby World Cup final, the FA Cup final and the Grand National, among others.

In a lengthy statement, it stated: “The white paper proposes that the opportunity to secure rights to air TV’s major sporting events such as the FIFA World Cup and Wimbledon be made an exclusive PSB [public service broadcasting] benefit via reforms to the listed events regime.

“A review will also look at adding digital and on-demand rights to the scheme to ensure free-to-view access for the nation when watching the ‘crown jewels’ of sport on digital platforms.”

Effectively, it gives public service broadcasters first refusal on bidding for UK rights to events on the list of protected or ‘crown jewel’ events.

In a statement, culture secretary Nadine Dorries said: “Set against the backdrop of the digital transformation of our viewing habits, today’s plans will revamp decades-old laws to help our public service broadcasters compete in the internet age and usher in a new golden age for British TV and radio.”

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