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BSkyB plans ‘London Legacy’ Olympic sports network

BSkyB is planning a new round-the-clock sports channel, London Legacy, devoted to 24 minority sports’, reports Rapid TV News. The network is designed to capitalise on the success of the London 2012 Olympics, the most-watched sporting event ever in the UK.

The channel will cover a range of events, from cycling to wrestling, rowing to fencing, judo to gymnastics, all in an effort to keep interest alive in those Olympic sports that may be exciting to audiences but rarely get airplay outside the Olympics themselves.

The network will initially only be available to BSkyB subscribers, and is being produced by Yorkshire-based TV company Highflyer at a cost of about $8.64 million.

According to BBC estimates, 51.9 million people, or about 90% of the UK population watched at least 15 minutes of the London games on its channels, with many low-profile events spotlighted by the corporation’s blanket coverage. But the vast majority of Olympic sports – such as judo, fencing, handball, or water polo – are virtually impossible to follow through traditional broadcast outlets. They simply “just don’t get enough sports coverage” on the major channels, according to John Fairley, chairman of Highflyer.

The network plans to mix its championship and tournament coverage with training and how-to programmes, and community shows explaining how viewers can get involved in the various sports.