Upcoming UK sports channel BT Sport have revealed their plans to take on a segment of the currently redeveloping Olympic Park in London (England), with the Olympic Broadcast Centre set to be confirmed as the ‘production hub’ for the sports network, set to launch next year.
While the channel had already recruited at least two high-profile people from broadcasting the 2012 Olympic Games to their new sports effort (BBC sports presenter Jake Humphrey and the BBC’s ‘London 2012 Head of Production’ Jaimie Hindhaugh), the pair (along with any others recruited and appropriate workers from 2012 Olympic Games and Paralympic Games sponsors BT) will have an opportunity to return to the Olympic Park (now known as the ‘Queen Elizabeth Olympic Park‘) in its ‘Legacy’ phase.
During the summer’s major sporting events, the International Broadcast Centre and Press Centre was the working home of 28,000 members of the media, with the site, which was afterwards handed to new owners iCITY, now in the care of new 10-year lease holders BT, who have signed a contract with iCITY to become the ‘anchor tenant’ of the buildings.
The property, which is to become the home of all BT Sport channels, will include 3 TV studios, 20 edit suites, a control centre, and an ‘audience holding area’, and with such a large-scale investment is due to become the main production and broadcast hub for the sports content aired by the new channel, though BT have already confirmed that some responsibilities will be transferred elsewhere in the capital city, to the 189m-tall BT Tower.
BT’s chief executive Ian Livingstone announced the move as a ‘leading way’ of securing an ‘Olympic sporting legacy for the community’, stating: “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.”
Mayor of London Boris Johnson added of iCITY and BT’s deal: “[This is an] exciting proposal [that will] 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 high tech and creative hub for London in Queen Elizabeth Olympic Park.”
Claiming that they will begin life at their new broadcast centre on 1 February 2013, ahead of the rumoured summer launch-date, will BT’s efforts to benefit all parties with an Olympic Park legacy be a successful one?
To look back on arguably four of the most ‘planned’ broadcasts produced by the centre in the summer of 2012, follow the link to watch all Opening and Closing Ceremonies of the Olympic and Paralympic Games, in their entirety, if you have the best part of 14 hours to spare that is…