BT Sport to Make iCity and the Olympic Broadcast Centre its Production Home
BT today announced that it has chosen iCITY and the north end of the former International Broadcast Centre at the Queen Elizabeth Olympic Park as the home of its new BT Sport channels.
The company has agreed to become a long term anchor tenant of the building, now part of iCITY, as it seeks to contribute to the Olympic legacy, by providing jobs and opportunities to the local community.
BT will refit part of the building to house three TV studios, a control centre, 20 edit suites and an audience holding area.
BT Sport will show 38 live games a season from the Barclays Premier League, including 18 of the top clashes, for three years from August 2013. The live coverage will be fronted by Jake Humphrey, BBC Formula 1 and football presenter. The new channels will also show 69 live rugby union games a season from the Aviva Premiership.
The new Olympic Park studios will be a production hub for all the sports content that BT will offer and some programmes will be hosted from the studios. Some features and programming will be filmed at another iconic venue, the BT Tower.
During the Olympics, the press centre and IBC hosted 28,000 media covering the games at the Queen Elizabeth Olympic Park in Stratford. The building’s legacy was secured when iCITY successfully bid to take over the centre. BT has now agreed the terms for a ten-year lease with iCITY to be the anchor tenant of the former IBC, to ensure it creates opportunities and employment for the area. iCITY will create a world-leading technology cluster, building on the success of East London’s flourishing digital and creative industries, and supporting regeneration and economic growth across the capital and the UK.
Ian Livingston, chief executive of BT, said: “BT is leading the way to secure the Olympic sporting legacy for the community. We see this as a natural continuation of our role as official communications services partner for London 2012.
“BT Sport will be a visible and engaged partner for the community and the studio will be a reminder of the incredible sporting feats we witnessed during the Olympics and Paralympics. The Olympic Park will be an iconic sporting backdrop for BT Sport. We want to create jobs in the area and to explore sporting links with local schools as well as looking at how we can offer our production facilities to other companies.”
The Mayor of London, Boris Johnson said: “This is an exciting proposal from iCITY and BT to transform part of the broadcast centre into the home of a major new TV channel creating hundreds of new jobs. It offers the prospect of delivering our ambition and vision of a great employment legacy for Londoners from the Games and creating a new hi tech and creative hub for London in Queen Elizabeth Olympic Park. I look forward to considering it at our Board meeting next week.”
Gavin Poole, chief executive of iCITY, said: “We are delighted that BT Sport has chosen to locate at iCITY. This is fantastic news for the local community. BT Sport’s decision demonstrates the momentum behind iCITY and the progress we are making in fulfilling our commitment to deliver jobs, support enterprise and boost economic growth. We very much hope that the London Legacy Development Corporation Board approves this at their upcoming meeting.”
BT will start work at the building on the Olympic Park on February 1, ahead of a launch of BT Sport in the summer of 2013.
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