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BBC faces tough challenge over sports channel

The BBC faces a tough challenge to persuade the government to give the go-ahead for its proposed subscription-based sport channel, which it plans to launch in autumn 2001.

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LONDON (Brand Republic) - The BBC faces a tough challenge to persuade the government to give the go-ahead for its proposed subscription-based sport channel, which it plans to launch in autumn 2001.

The Department of Culture, Media and Sport warned that it would not allow the BBC to launch the channel until it is satisfied that licence fees are not used to cross-subsidise the channel.

The channel is designed to raise cash to help recapture exclusive rights to high-profile sporting events such as Premier League football and England’s Six Nations rugby matches.

In order to win government approval, the channel would have to be run as a joint venture between the BBC’s commercial arm, BBC Worldwide, and a rival company. The BBC confirmed yesterday that it has been in talks with several potential commercial partners and plans to make a firm proposal to the government by Easter next year in time for its planned autumn launch.

It is understood that the BBC would contribute archive material and some existing broadcasting rights.



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