DCMS team looking at mega events over next 10 years
UK Sport Minister Nigel Huddleston MP today (Thursday, 18/11/21) explained the government’s approach to a UK-Ireland FIFA 2030 World Cup and acknowledged the importance of the news media at big events.
Kevin Brennan MP, Labour PM for Cardiff West, asked the minister: ‘Does the government have the needs of the independent news media sector in mind even at this early stage in planning ahead for the potential 2030 World Cup or other mega sports events. There is a concern that news coverage of those sporting events is gradually being made more difficult.’
Huddleston replied: ‘You raised this at a previous part of the hearing. I’m not 100% exactly what you are getting at but in terms are the media part of the mix, are we thinking of what role they should play, that is always the case and always part of the business planning, the overall scoping of any bid.’
He added: ‘I understand that and the changing formats of interviewing stars and all of those kind of things. Yes I think this is all part of the bidding process. One of the elements which is part of the criteria is making sure that encouragement and support for that sport can be maximised. So again goes back to either the listing and or how the news media are included in this would be part of that mix, i.e. what are you going to be doing in order if you are going to bid for this event in this sport how are you leverage it to get more people engaged and more young people excited about that sport – and so media plays an important role in that.’
Huddleston said: ‘It is important that our major sports, cricket being one of them, has decent visibility in that people that are fans or people who could become fans have a route into – which is the purpose behind listed events. This is always a matter of balance in listed events considerations.’
Referring to media rights sales, Huddleston said: ‘The mix between commercial exploitation so that sports can get value out of the intellectual property and the investment they put into it whilst simultaneously trying to as many as eyeballs as possible is a good goal. Maybe we get it right and we get it right particularly in the more fragmented media market place. If we pull too far one way it has a negative impact on the other side and we all know that which is why it is so difficult.’
The committee inquiry, under the chairmanship of Julian Knight MP. was launched in April and in October Andrew Moger, the chief executive of the News Media Coalition, told MPs that existing arrangements for hosting major events in the UK fail to safeguard news reporting. He told the parliamentary select committee hearing that bidding processes for sporting events, such for football world cups and European championships pay insufficient regard to the subsequent needs of news media and news consumers when events begin.
This is particularly acute, Moger said, when there are many lead in years between hosting rights being awarded, the selling of the commercial broadcast rights and the staging of an event. He said the News Media Coalition was willing to contribute to establishing best practice such as through a revision of the government’s existing Gold Framework document for event bidding.