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BBC could lose rights to show 'crown jewel' events

ESPN staff
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Wimbledon is considered a 'crown jewel' in the sporting calendar © PA Photos
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The BBC is in jeopardy of losing the rights to broadcast sport's 'crown jewels' - which include the FA Cup, Wimbledon and the Grand National - according to reports in the Daily Telegraph.

Every year, the BBC spends around £150million of the licence fee in order to secure the rights to show some of the world's most prestigious sporting events on a free-to-air channel; events such as the football World Cup finals, rugby union World Cup final and the Olympic Games.

Conservative party chairman Grant Shapps previously warned the licence fee could be cut unless the Corporation confronts a 'culture' of secrecy and continues to reform in light of recently publicised scandals.

According to the Telegraph, broadcasting rivals are reportedly unhappy with the lack of parity; complaining that, under the blanket of the licence fee, the BBC can give away for free programmes which other broadcasters would have to pay for.

Proposals for broadcasters to bid for a section of the licence fee to air 'crown jewel' sporting events could be contemplated by ministers, with a source close to Culture Secretary Maria Miller stating the licence fee is "not a given right" any more.

"There is a conversation to be had there as to whether the BBC should be funding things that are also covered by commercial broadcasters. There's an array of sporting events," a source close to Mrs Miller told the Telegraph.

"It would impact on the licence fee. The money that was given to the BBC could theoretically be given to other broadcasters who were doing something that we would consider of public service. The BBC covers a whole range of events which private commercial broadcasters pay to cover.

"[It] the licence fee is not a given right any more. There is an acknowledgement that the change in commercial broadcasters means this is something that needs to be looked at."

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