Playing under pressure: sport, public service broadcasting and the BBC


Using the UK, and particularly the BBC, as a case study, this article highlights the difficulties faced by PSBs, who continue to see sports coverage as an important part of their public service remit. Following a brief account of the historical development of sports broadcasting in the UK, the article is divided into two main parts. The first part examines the main challenges faced by the BBC, namely a combination of the escalating costs of sports rights and a squeeze on its own finances. The second part of the article then moves on to focus on the continued importance of listed events legislation, which effectively guarantees that certain key national sporting events remain available on free-to-air television via PSBs. The article concludes that ultimately to be able to continue to enhance cultural citizenship through the provision of a range of live sports programming PSBs require more political support.


The file attached to this record is the author's final peer reviewed version. The Publisher's final version can be found by following the DOI link.


sports rights, sports broadcasting, public service broadcasting, BBC, listed events policy


Smith, P. (2017) Playing under pressure: sport, public service broadcasting and the BBC. International Communication Gazette, 79 (2), pp. 203-216


Research Institute

Media and Communication Research Centre (MCRC)
Cinema and Television History Institute (CATHI)