BT Sport to become main tenant of London 2012 International Broadcast Centre

Friday, 30 November 2012
By Duncan Mackay

IBC London 2012November 30 - BT, who are to set to start broadcasting Premier League football matches next season, are to become the main tenant of the International Broadcast Centre on the London 2012 Olympic Park in a new 10-year deal, it has been revealed. 

BT Sport has spent £1 billion ($1.6 billion/€1.2 billion) on the television rights to mount a challenge to the dominance of Sky Sports and the move into, what will be known as, the Queen Elizabeth Olympic Park is set to create hundreds of jobs in East London.

It will refurbish 75,000 square feet (7,000 square meters) of space in the IBC building to house three television studios, a control centre, 20 edit suites and an audience-holding area.

BT, who were a Tier One sponsor of London 2012, will become a tenant of iCity - a joint venture between real estate agency Delancey and data storage provider Infinity - which won the bid to transform the £295 million ($461 million/€376 million) Olympic media centre after the Games.

BT are due to move in in February 2013 and will begin broadcasting in August.

The coverage - which will show 38 live games a season from the Premier League and 69 live top flight rugby union matches - will be fronted by Jake Humphrey, who is currently the main presenter of the BBC's Formula One coverage.

IBC London 2012 insideDuring London 2012 the IBC was part of a 24-hour media hub for around 20,000 broadcasters, photographers and journalists

"BT is leading the way to secure the Olympic sporting legacy for the community," said Ian Livingston, chief executive of BT.

"We see this as a natural continuation of our role as official communications services partner for London 2012.

"BT Sport will be a visible and engaged partner for the community and the studio will be a reminder of the incredible sporting feats we witnessed during the Olympics and Paralympics.

"The Olympic Park will be an iconic sporting backdrop for BT Sport.

"We want to create jobs in the area and to explore sporting links with local schools as well as looking at how we can offer our production facilities to other companies."

BT will now submit planning applications to Mayor Boris Johnson, who is expected to approve the deal at a Board meeting of the London Legacy Development Corporation next Wednesday (December 5), where Premier League West Ham United are also expected to be officially installed as the tenants of the Olympic Stadium.

The deal is good news for Johnson and British Prime Minister David Cameron as it links in with earlier plans for parts of the Main Press Centre (MPC) to be turned into a cloud computing centre.

"This is an exciting proposal from iCity and BT to transform part of the broadcast centre into the home of a major new TV channel creating hundreds of new jobs," said Johnson.

"It offers the prospect of delivering our ambition and vision of a great employment legacy for Londoners from the Games and creating a new hi tech and creative hub for London in Queen Elizabeth Olympic Park.

"I look forward to considering it at our Board meeting next week."

BT Sport Olympic ParkA computer generated image of how the IBC might look after BT Sport moves in next February

Cameron has already laid out a vision for London's East End to become a technology centre to rival California's Silicon Valley.

The BT deal still only accounts for approximately six per cent of the space available in the media centres but is clearly a big step in the right direction.

"We are delighted that BT Sport has chosen to locate at iCity," said Gavin Poole, the chief executive of iCity.

"This is fantastic news for the local community.

"BT Sport's decision demonstrates the momentum behind iCity and the progress we are making in fulfilling our commitment to deliver jobs, support enterprise and boost economic growth.

"We very much hope that the London Legacy Development Corporation Board approves this at their upcoming meeting."

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