SPORTS AGENDA: Broadcasters to hold meetings over the TV void

SPORTS AGENDA: Broadcasters to hold meetings to discuss how to fill the TV void… but Sky and BT Sport have no plans to reduce subscription fees

  • TV broadcasters will meet on Monday to discuss how to fill their schedules 
  • Collaborations between channels could even be used over the coming weeks 
  • Sky and BT Sport have no plans to reduce fees with the season not cancelled 

Sports broadcasters will hold crisis meetings on Monday to discuss how they are going to fill their schedules over the coming weeks and possibly months.

Stand by for archive material galore, although collaborations between channels may well be used to help see everybody through.

Sky, for example, could take programmes from in-house broadcast facilities such as American football’s NFL Network, which screens hours of content.

Sports broadcasters will hold crisis meetings on Monday to discuss how to fill their schedules 

There were raised eyebrows at rival broadcasters over the BBC’s decision to replace Match of the Day with Mrs Brown’s Boys on Saturday night.

With a nation desperate for football, viewers were instead ‘treated’ to an episode of the Irish comedy.

‘What were they thinking?’ said one insider. ‘Could they have not done a classic Match of the Day? A round-up of the season so far? A Match of the Day special on what next for the Premier League?

‘No, let’s put on Mrs Brown’s Boys. Unbelievable.’

Sky Sports and BT Sport have no plans to reduce subscription fees despite the suspensions

Sky Sports and BT Sport are understood to have no plans to reduce subscription fees, given that the season has not been cancelled and customers may end up watching all the matches they have paid for at some stage.

Should the season be called off, that situation may change.

The BBC have a vast archive at their disposal, but may run into problems over using footage of sports they no longer hold the rights for.

CORONAVIRUS CLAIMS NETWORK LEAVING PARTY 

Major sporting events are biting the dust all over the place, but Sports Agenda can disclose that even leaving dos are not immune. 

Former Sky Sports boss Barney Francis, who spent more than 20 years with the network, has cancelled a farewell party in London for 300 guests this week.

Former Sky Sports boss Barney Francis cancelled a farewell party due to coronavirus fears

LACK OF PRELIMINARY EVENTS CAUSES OLYMPIC HEADACHE 

The vast majority of Olympic hopefuls are yet to qualify for the Tokyo Games — with preliminary events due to take place over the coming months.

The fact that many of those events will not go ahead presents a serious headache for Tokyo organisers.

In a rare display of leadership, the International Olympic Committee have been in touch with sports federations to urge them to think about ways around the issue. 

Some may need to rush through constitutional changes to enable their competitors to be on the plane — should the Games go ahead.

The fact that many preliminary events for the Tokyo Olympics will not go ahead poses an issue

BRAZIL BREAKFAST SHOW DOWN TO TWO HELPINGS

Alan Brazil’s appearances on the flagship talkSPORT breakfast show are set to be slashed from five mornings a week to two. The effervescent Scot is expected to be replaced from Monday to Wednesday by the well-regarded Laura Woods, while retaining the Thursday and Friday shows. 

No contracts have been signed but an announcement may well be made this week. Brazil, 60, the former Scotland striker, has been a mainstay of the station since 2000, though his poor attendance record has become the stuff of legend. 

On Friday, he failed to turn up after broadcasting throughout the week from the Cheltenham Festival.

Alan Brazil’s appearances on the talkSport breakfast show will be slashed to two days a week

MASTERS GUESTS MISS OUT ON WOODS’ CHAMPIONS’ DINNER 

The cancellation of the Masters means that guests will not be able to sample the choices of Tiger Woods at the traditional Champions’ Dinner.

Last year’s Augusta winner had planned to present steak and chicken fajitas, plus sushi and sashimi, in a nod to his southern California roots.

Woods would’ve had to go further, however, to topple the efforts of 2016 victor Danny Willett, who visited the Henderson’s Relish factory in Sheffield as part of an assignment he took extremely seriously.

The Yorkshireman ended up with a menu of cottage pie (with the relish) and roast beef, followed by apple crumble.

RELATIONS BETWEEN JONES AND THE MEDIA AT AN ALL-TIME LOW 

Eddie Jones is at war with rugby journalists after the England head coach got wind of a complaint to RFU chief executive Bill Sweeney about his treatment of the media pack.

The Rugby Union Writers’ Club wrote to the RFU raising issues about Jones’s attitude, particularly towards the written press, during the Six Nations, with complaints including a lack of access, general unhelpfulness and sarcastic answers in media briefings. 

As a result, relations between Jones and the media are at an all-time low.

Relations between England head coach Eddie Jones and the media are at an all-time low

BBC’S PURSUIT OF YOUTH AUDIENCE BACKFIRES ON RADIO 5 LIVE 

One silver lining to the coronavirus crisis: BBC Radio 5 Live’s abysmal The Squad — full of ‘bants’ and twaddle — was canned on Sunday.

The folly of the BBC abandoning quality journalism in the pursuit of youth audiences was laid bare this weekend with the absence of the brilliant Sportsweek.

In a time like this, the hard-hitting show — which was dropped when host Garry Richardson departed last year — is exactly the sort of programme listeners need from the national broadcaster, with sports executives asked tricky questions about what lies ahead. 

Instead, Love Island presenter Laura Whitmore hosted a show in which listeners heard from former Boyzone singer Ronan Keating and Jonathan Pie actor Tom Walker, and were treated to a live performance by Australian musician Gordi.

The absence of Sportsweek, hosted by Garry Richardson, was laid bare this weekend on 5 Live

BRADY’S SELF-INTEREST RAISES RIVALS’ HACKLES 

Karren Brady’s column in The Sun, in which the West Ham vice-chair argued for the Premier League season to be rendered null and void, did little to dispel the feeling that some are trying to use the coronavirus outbreak for their own interests.

Brady’s view from the top at relegation-threatened West Ham prompted knowing nods at rival top-flight clubs.

Some also noted fellow relegation battlers Bournemouth announced on Friday morning, 15 minutes before the Premier League’s meeting, that five of their players had self-isolated, despite none of them having tested positive for the virus at that stage.

The Cherries even pointed out keeper Artur Boruc was among the group.

Karren Brady’s view on the state of the Premier League season drew knowing nods at rivals

TEAM GB ATHLETES SHUN FRUIT AND VEG FOR SANITIZER 

At an event with sponsors Aldi last week, a number of Team GB athletes were told they could take items from the store to help their Olympic preparations. 

While the fruit and veg aisle was shunned, one product proved particularly popular: hand sanitiser gel.

Team GB athletes were told by Aldi they could take items to help their Olympic preparations

RODGERS CHIPS IN AT OLYMPIC ASSOCIATION SESSION 

Brendan Rodgers took time out of his day-to-day role at Leicester City recently to speak to communications staff from the British Olympic Association.

The group were at the King Power Stadium for a pre-Tokyo team-building session and the Foxes manager went straight from a press conference to share tips. 

Sources say the Northern Irishman spoke about the importance of communication with his own team and with external media. 

‘He didn’t have to do it but was happy to help when he heard the event was taking place at Leicester’s ground,’ said an insider.

Brendan Rodgers shared pointers with the British Olympic Association communications staff




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