Contingency plan couples magazine formats with archive classics.
BBC Sport has begun prepping for when the worst of the current Covid-19 restrictions are lifted as it readies magazine formats to accompany archive classics over the summer.
Head of TV sport Phillip Bernie is drawing up contingency plans for how to film formats in a semi-lockdown state, in anticipation of the easing of constraints over the coming weeks.
BBC Sport has lost more than 250 hours of live events this summer, following the cancellation of the likes of Wimbledon, the Euros, the Olympics and, most recently, The Hundred cricket tournament.
The BBC will now show daily archived classics during the period in which some of these events were supposed to run and Bernie is keen to pair the classics with magazine formats that feature analysis from top talent.
The division is currently working on an early-evening Wimbledon studio show and has similar plans for the Olympics.
The team has already converted BBC Sounds’ Match of the Day podcast (pictured above) into a BBC1 format, which has been playing in MOTD’s late-night Saturday slot as a replacement for the weekly highlights show, paired with archive-based show Match of their Day.
Bernie said: “We want to mix our archive with discussion and interplay, along the lines of a podcast. For Wimbledon, we have until the start of July so there’s a little bit of time to see what’s possible in terms of delivery. Health and safety is of course still the key concern.”
Bernie said these shows would likely be pre-recorded and the BBC is planning them with help from sporting bodies. The circa-100-staff division is also looking further down the line to when live sport returns.
Bernie said sporting rights holders had been “very sympathetic and supportive” as the BBC pushes to plug scheduling gaps with as much archived content as possible.
“Rightsholders are keen to get some reflection of their sport on air this summer where live events have been cancelled, so we’ve found collaboration to be really positive,” he added.
“There’s a real appetite for audiences to see some sport during this time and we have become very engaged in looking at where we can fill gaps on both channels and iPlayer,” Bernie said. “This has been a joint conversion from the start.”
He also lamented the loss of The Hundred tournament – postponed until 2021 earlier this week – which would have represented the BBC’s return to cricket after 20 years.
“It’s another significant disappointment – this was new and fresh and we were really enthused about delivering it,” concluded Bernie.
A version of this article was originally published on Broadcastnow.