BBC chief discovers: the Olympics are big

Roger Mosey, the BBC Head of Sport recently appointed as its director of 2012 Olympic operations, says he made a startling discovery when visiting the recent Beijing Games: the Olympics is a big event.

In an interview with the Guardian, Mosey – whose sport department opted to make no bid for television rights to next year’s Ashes cricket series and future England games, and who lost the BBC’s rights to Premier League highlights and live FA Cup coveraged – said: “You know the Olympics are huge, but when you see it on the scale of Beijing we all immediately thought, ‘This is two, or three, or four times bigger than we thought it was’.”

The BBC will not be “host broadcaster” in London in 2012, since the International Olympic Committee now instals its own broadcast team, made up of senior broadcasters and technicians from around the world, including the BBC. But clearly the corporation will have a pivotal role in what is widely acknowledged as the largest logistical exercise in peace time.

Mosey’s department will plan the BBC’s multi-media coverage coverage and projects such as erecting large high-definition screens across the land.

“Two things are true – they are London’s Games, as a world city, but the BBC is a UK broadcaster and the appetite is from around the UK to watch and take part. The whole of the UK should fizz about it.”

Despite such enthusiasm for spreading Olympic “fizz” around the whole country, Mosey’s appointment means he will be staying in London, rather than being part of the controversial departmental move north to Salford with the rest of BBC Sport some time in 2011-2012. “Salford will hopefully be a world-class centre,” Mosey said.

In the interview, Mosey defended the BBC’s 437-strong team in Beijing for the Olympics with the stat that 73 per cent of the UK population watched at least some part of the 2008 Games. He also put forward the notion that the BBC’s coverage was not criticised for being too fawning, either of the Chinese regime or of the British team. “The dog that didn’t bark was that no one said the BBC kowtowed on politics or got the tone wrong,” Mosey said.

“The BBC, 1 million per cent, can deliver a great Games in 2012.”

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