Di­a­mond League to be shown live as BBC agrees late deal

The Daily Telegraph - Business - - Sport Athletics - By Ben Bloom

Bri­tish view­ers will be able to watch Di­a­mond League ath­let­ics live on tele­vi­sion af­ter the BBC signed a last-minute deal to show five of this year’s six meets.

Ath­let­ics fans in Bri­tain were fac­ing a black­out of the sport’s show­piece com­pe­ti­tion af­ter the Di­a­mond League failed to find a broad­caster to re­place Eurosport, which opted not to ex­tend its con­tract af­ter it ex­pired in 2019.

The terms of the Di­a­mond League’s li­cens­ing agree­ment with

IMG, which or­gan­ises the com­pe­ti­tion’s in­ter­na­tional me­dia rights and broad­cast deals, also meant an on­line feed hosted on the Di­a­mond League web­site was set to be blocked to view­ers in Bri­tain.

An out­cry from the ath­let­ics com­mu­nity prompted the BBC to step in and con­firm a deal had been struck to show tonight’s open­ing Di­a­mond League meet in Monaco.

The event, which fea­tures Kata­rina John­son-Thompson, Laura Muir and Adam Gemili, will be streamed live from 7pm on BBC iPlayer, the BBC red but­ton and the

BBC Sport web­site. It is un­der­stood that the BBC has also signed a deal to use the Di­a­mond League’s feed from sub­se­quent meets in Stock­holm, Lau­sanne, Rome and Doha.

Only the Brus­sels event, which clashes with the broad­caster’s cov­er­age of the Bri­tish Ath­let­ics Cham­pi­onships on Sept 4, will not be shown live.

The BBC al­ready pos­sessed the rights to Di­a­mond League high­lights and will con­tinue to show a one-hour show on BBC One the day af­ter the Monaco meet­ing, as well as sim­i­lar high­lights pack­ages fol­low­ing the re­main­ing legs. The news is a huge re­lief for the sport’s gov­ern­ing body, World Ath­let­ics, which faced the ma­jor em­bar­rass­ment of its pre­mier prod­uct fail­ing to be shown live in Bri­tain less than a year af­ter it an­nounced con­tro­ver­sial changes to the Di­a­mond League struc­ture, de­signed specif­i­cally for TV.

Events in­clud­ing the 200me­tres were due to be cut to re­duce the length of meet­ings for a “90-minute broad­cast” al­though, be­cause of the pan­demic, the changes are not go­ing ahead.

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