Diamond League to be shown live as BBC agrees late deal
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.