BBC Radio 5 Live Sports Extra
|Broadcast area||United Kingdom - Nationally via Digital Audio Broadcasting (DAB)|
|Slogan||More live sport. Pure live sport. Five Live Sports Extra|
Sky (UK only): 0144
Virgin Media: 908
UPC Ireland: 928
|First air date||2 February 2002|
|Audience share||0.2% (December 2012, )|
Stream URL (eAAC+)
BBC Radio 5 Live Sports Extra is a national digital radio station, operated by the BBC, and specialising only in extended additional sports coverage. It is a sister station to BBC Radio 5 Live and shares facilities, presenters and management and is a department of the BBC North Group division.
The station is only available on Digital Radio, television platforms and online.
BBC Radio Five Live Sports Extra launched as part of the BBC's expansion into digital radio by launching several digital only stations that would complement existing coverage. At the time of launch, all radio sports coverage was included as part of BBC Radio 5 Live's mix of news and sport, the longwave frequencies of BBC Radio 4 or on individual BBC Local Radio stations. As these platforms couldn't appropriately accommodate any additional sports, a new service was launched: BBC Radio Five Live Sports Extra. The station began broadcasts at 2.30pm on 2 February 2002. Juliette Ferrington introduced the first programme – commentary of Manchester United against Sunderland.
Despite many television rights to sporting events being heavily fought over by commercial companies, such as Sky Sports and ITV Sport, radio sports coverage for many events are still held by the BBC: the main competitor being the commercial station Talksport.
In 2007, the station was rebranded in line with the rest of the network. The new BBC Radio 5 Live Sports Extra logo was turned into a circular based logo in the colour green; according to research, the green colour was chosen as people associated it with sport. In addition, a new background of blue and red diagonal lines on the same green colour was adopted for promotions for the service. Along with the rebrand, Sports Extra began to become closer aligned with 5 Live. As a result, the online presence of the station was toned down with only an upcoming schedule remaining; all other details were merged into the 5 Live website or the new BBC Radio online homepage.
The remit of BBC Radio 5 live Sports Extra is to bring a greater choice of live action to sports fans by offering a part-time extension of BBC Radio 5 live. The service should aim to provide increased value for licence fee payers from the portfolio of sports rights already owned by the BBC by offering alternative coverage to that provided on other UK-wide BBC services. All output on 5 live Sports Extra should be live sports coverage.
BBC Radio 5 Live Sports Extra is broadcast only on digital platforms. Unlike sister station 5 Live, no analogue frequency is used. Instead, the service is only available on DAB Digital Radio and on Digital television through operators on satellite services, such as Sky, cable operators, such as Virgin Media, DTT services, such as Freeview, and on IPTV. The service is also available online through the BBC website, the sub-site BBC iPlayer service and the Radioplayer service part owned by the BBC. The BBC iPlayer service also re-broadcasts programmes for seven days after original broadcast. Due to rights restrictions, some programmes are only available to UK audiences or are not available on the BBC Website or iPlayer services.
The station is notable in that it is a part-time service, only airing throughout sports broadcasts. These broadcasts themselves are also live and uninterrupted, unlike Radio 5 Live which adds news bulletins and Radio 4 Longwave which adds the Shipping Forecast into coverage. When the station goes off-air, all broadcasts cease as the station does not simulcast any other broadcast, even the internet livestream stops; this is unusual on the BBC Radio network as nearly all radio stations now operate 24 hours a day or simulcast with another service - Radio 4 simulcasts with the BBC World Service and BBC Local Radio stations broadcast 5 Live when not on air. A side effect of this lack of simulcast is that those attempting to tune into the station with a DAB Digital Radio will often have difficulty finding the station.
The stations controller is Jonathan Wall, who is also responsible for 5 Live and is answerable to the BBC North and BBC Audio & Music departments. The station operates from Quay House in MediaCityUK on a single floor alongside 5 Live. Although 5 Live Sports Extra uses no studio space, the teams required to organise the match coverage are shared with 5 Live. The move to Salford took two months, and occurred alongside 5 Live, in a bid to create a northern media hub and to outsource major production from London. Previously, 5 Live Sports Extra had been located alongside 5 Live in BBC Television Centre and spread over several floors.
5 Live Sports Extra broadcast a variety of sports including:
- 5 Live Sports Extra's famous Test Match Special
- Cricket World Cup, ICC Champions Trophy, and Twenty20 World Cup
- England cricket tests and One Day Internationals
- Friends Provident Trophy semi-finals and final and Twenty20 Cup
- Full broadcasts of Premier League and Home Nation football if games overlap, with 5 Live carrying first-choice in these cases
- Major League Baseball's World Series, since 2004
- Wimbledon Tennis championships, with the station providing extra court commentary for the first week of the tournament
- Tennis Grand Slam tournament coverage of non-final rounds and some other major tennis tournaments
- Action from any other competition broadcast on 5 Live
Through the 2012 season, 5 Live and 5 Live Sports Extra carried NFL late games broadcast on Sunday evening with coverage taken from Westwood One, the NFL International Series, and the Super Bowl. The latter two events use BBC-produced commentaries. Absolute Radio 90s acquired the broadcast rights to the NFL beginning in 2013.
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