Talksport is taking the BBC to task over the way in which the
corporation retained the rights to broadcast Test cricket.
Kelvin MacKenzie’s radio station has written to the Office of Fair
Trading, stating the BBC acted ’in contravention of Section 18(1) of the
Competition Act 1998’ when it held on to the Test cricket contract.
TalkSport says the corporation used a package of measures - including
cross-promotion of Radio 5 Live and bundling television and radio rights
- to appeal to the Cricket Board in the face of a higher bid from the
The letter to the OFT states: ’Our view is that the BBC is using its
market power to damage TalkSport.
’The BBC’s monopolisation of key radio sports rights - together with its
extensive use of publicly financed non-radio media to promote the
activities of Radio 5 Live - leaves TalkSport in a disadvantaged
position and harms our business.’
’We are not in a situation to build a network in the same way the BBC
can,’ said a TalkSport spokesman. ’It can bundle the rights and get them
on the cheap - it puts us at an enormous commercial disadvantage.’
A BBC spokesperson countered: ’We won the contract on a competitive
basis. We offer quality whereas TalkSport offered money.’
She added: ’We are expected to cross-promote across our network. Our
charter requires us to tell our licence payers what they are getting for
This is not the first time the two organisations have locked horns. Last
year, TalkSport complained to the OFT about the BBC’s refusal to include
its station details in the BBC-owned Radio Times.