BBC defends London 2012 coverage team size
Published Apr 26 2012, 15:05 BST | By Andrew Laughlin
The BBC has defended the size of its coverage team for the London 2012 Olympics this summer, after it was revealed that the corporation's staff will outnumber Team GB.
Yesterday, it was announced that the BBC has accredited 765 staff for the Olympics, an increase on the 493 for Beijing 2009 (of whom 437 were flown from London to China).
The corporation said that the staff increase is necessary to produce the many hours of daily live television across BBC One, BBC Two and BBC Three, along with the 24 live, high definition streams that will cover every venue and every event, from morning to night
Alongside this, there will be extensive coverage on 5 Live and temporary digital radio station 5 Live Olympics Extra, while London 2012 will be the first ever 3D TV Olympics
and the BBC will run tests of Super Hi Vision - a new technology 16 times sharper than HD - at Glasgow, Bradford and London
However, many newspapers have honed in on the fact that the BBC's team will far outnumber the size of Team GB, which is expected to have around 550 athletes.
But Roger Mosey
, the BBC's director of London 2012, said in a blog post
that "big events require significant staffing levels".
"Our American colleagues at NBC have used over 2,800 staff at previous Olympics, while The Times
reported that there were 380 staff working on Sky Sports' excellent host-broadcasting operation for last year's Champions League final at Wembley. Sky have said in the past that 130 people are involved in covering a single Premier League game," he said.
"Meanwhile, there's also the very strange argument that it's a problem if the BBC staffing levels are greater than the size of Team GB - as if a Team GB of 1,000 people would then make it okay for us to have 999.
"In fact, we have to cover all the nations taking part in the Olympics; and our teams are driven by the scale of the overall coverage, not the number of British athletes competing."
To keep costs low, Mosey said that just 23% of staff covering the Olympics will come down from the new Salford base at BBC North, and most of the team are already London-based.
"For those who do travel down, there will be overnight stays; but we've always been clear that almost all of them would have qualified for it anyway given the need to start early, finish late and get to venues on time - and many will be put up in low-cost student-type accommodation," he said.
"At every stage of the BBC 2012 operation, we've been conscious of the need to run as efficient an operation as we can do and to spend our budget wisely.
"But equally we know that British audiences expect us to cover these Games well, and it's a once-in-a-lifetime moment for this country where the broadcasting will be required to live up to the event.
"We believe we're striking that balance, and we'll aim to supply our best-ever range of content this summer to tens of millions of people."