BBC Wins Rights to 2015 & 2017 World Athletic Championships

November 25, 2011

The British Broadcasting Corporation (BBC) have won back the media rights to the World Athletics Series events from 2014 to 2017 replacing Channel 4’s short stint as rights holders of the World Championships.

This came about after the International Association of Athletics Federations (IAAF) signed a deal with the European Broadcasting Union, of which the BBC is a member, guaranteeing exclusive media rights to all World Series Athletics events from 2014 to 2017.

It means the championships will return to BBC screens when they are staged in Beijing in 2015 before the channel becomes the host broadcaster for the event in the Olympic Stadium in Stratford two years later.

London was awarded the championships by the IAAF less than a fortnight ago when it saw off a rival bid from the Qatari capital, Doha.

Barbara Slater, the BBC’s director of BBC Sport, said: “We’re delighted that the World Championships will be returning to the BBC.

The BBC screened the championships from their inception in 1983 to 2009 before losing the rights to Channel 4 this summer.

That was because the EBU was outbid for the period 2010-2103 by Swedish media rights agency IEC in Sports, which then negotiated individual rights deals with broadcasters in each country.

IEC had hoped to extend its deal but this time it was outbid by the EBU, who are believed have offered in excess of £15 million a year to the IAAF for pan-European rights.

IEC continues to hold the rights for the 2013 World Championships in Moscow and has yet to finalise a UK deal.

Channel 4’s coverage of the championships in Daegu, South Korea, attracted an avalanche of criticism from viewers and it was forced to drop its main presenter, Ortis Deley, halfway through the event for a series of mistakes.

The new deal means the sport will return to mainly public service broadcasters across the continent.

Lamine Diack, the IAAF president, said: “The EBU has been our partner for every edition of the IAAF World Championships from their creation in 1983 right through until 2009 and we are delighted to be partners again.

“This agreement not only secures the financial future of the athletics movement until the end of 2017 but is also strategic for the IAAF in guaranteeing maximum coverage of our premium events in key territories.”

This just comes a couple of day after BBC Retained Six Nations rights. The last few broadcast deals for the BBC has dispelled rumours that the public broadcaster will have to reduce deals due to economic constraints.