BBC Trust chair, Rona Fairhead, hints at more sports cuts

The BBC has warned that more sport coverage could be cut from its live broadcasting schedule as it continues to plough ahead with more saving strategies.

Rona_fairhead promises more sports cuts
Rona Fairhead

In a recent interview with the Radio Times, BBC Trust chair, Rona Fairhead, admitted she was “sad” that the BBC had lost the rights to broadcast Formula One and the Olympics, while adding that more cuts could soon follow.

Fairhead said the BBC could relinquish more sport rights over the next five years in order to save more than half a billion pounds to cover the cost of the new licence fee deal which will provide free TV licences for over 75s.

Some of the savings “will come from programme content cuts, and one of the biggest areas is sadly sport,” she said.

Fairhead added: “I find it very sad. You don’t want to get the BBC to a stage where there is so little coverage that you lose the innate production capability, and I still think that the coverage that the BBC gives of sport is superb.”

Her comments come as the public broadcaster looks to make £35m in cuts this year, a large chunk of which is expected to come from its decision to cut short its contract with Formula One three years early.

Earlier cuts to the BBC’s sporting content resulted in a new agreement with ITV to share the broadcasting rights for Six Nations rugby with ITV in order to hold off Sky. It also ended nearly 60 years of live Open golf coverage in favour of an extended highlights package.