UTV-owned talkSPORT has made broadcasting history by winning the rights to become the first national commercial radio station to broadcast live top flight football games since the BBC first aired live football commentary of Arsenal versus Sheffield United on January 22nd 1927.
talkSPORT secured the exclusive live commentary rights to 32 games on Saturday afternoons at 3pm from next season for three seasons, after winning an auction for the rights organised by the Premier League.
Scott Taunton, managing director of UTV Radio, which owns talkSPORT, said: “After 80 years of hurt, this is a historic day for talkSPORT and commercial radio in the UK. To have won the rights to broadcast live Premier League football at 3pm on a Saturday — at a time when television is unable to broadcast – is the jewel in our crown. What’s more, it is a deal that makes sound commercial sense and allows us to vigorously market and promote each and every game.
“For the first time, people will be able to hear a very different style of top flight English football commentary from the traditional sound of the BBC that they have been listening to for 80 years. We believe that our distinctive, passionate and energetic approach will appeal not only to our current listeners but to many more people who will enjoy our live commentary as well as all the up-to-the-minute action from around the grounds.”
The station plans to reschedule its Saturday programming with a pre-match build-up and post match phone-ins to further enhance the station’s football coverage on the most important day of the football week.
Richard Scudamore, chief executive of the Premier League said: “We are extremely pleased to welcome talkSPORT as a new national live rights holder and look forward to working closely with them as we seek to offer fans increased choice and accessibility to follow the best Premier League action.”
This coup follows talkSPORT’s acquisition of the live rights this year to the World Cup 2006 as well as the Champions League and UEFA Cup Finals.
The station is currently broadcasting live 2006-07 Champions League matches involving Manchester United, Liverpool and Arsenal.