Media Exposure proves critical game
British basketball could be set for a media bonanza next season, as the Basketball League gets set to sign deals which will bring major exposure to the sport. Sky Television look set to see their live coverage of the game extended into the new millennium with a new multi-year deal for coverage, building upon their regular Sunday evening game slot of the last couple of years. However this time out, non-cable viewers will get the chance to view more of the game with the likelihood of regular terrestrial coverage for the first time in nearly a decade.
Unlike the previous Sky deal which effectively prohibited TV highlights within seven days, with the exception of the Budweiser Championships, the new deal will allow replayed coverage on other stations, probably with a 24 hour window. It also opens up the re-selling of the games which Sky do not cover to terrestrial television, something which both Sky and the League management are keen to make happen. Among the established broadcasters, BBC are known to be interested in increasing their coverage of the sport, although memories of last years Sainsbury's Cup Final remain a black mark on their card. Commercial channels also are in the frame, eager for the youthful and female demographics offered by the Budweiser League.
The good old wireless will not be left out of the equation. BBC Radio 5 Live has stated its intention to extend its coverage of the game which last season saw some Friday night live broadcasts to complement its coverage of the major tournaments. "We will continue to do the live commentaries from the likes of the Budweiser Championships," revealed Roger Mosey, controller of the national news and sport network, "and we know it is a popular sport because people are tuning into 5 Live to listen to it. However we're going to try to increase our results and reports from the sport and some sort of thirty minute magazine programme is being planned, which I'd like to give a weekly slot if possible." With local radio coverage already in place around the country, basketball's blitz is set to continue.
In the second part of Media Exposure, Britball looks at the challenge facing the sports' managers in the increasingly competitive world of media rights.