Olympics 2012: BBC staff will be bigger than Team GB

Apr 26, 2012

BBC to employ 55 per cent more people than 2008, with one in four commuting 200 miles from Salford

MORE PEOPLE will be employed by the BBC to cover the London Olympics than will actually compete for Britain at the Games, it was revealed yesterday.

A total of 765 people will provide round-the-clock coverage of the Olympics for the broadcaster, far exceeding the 550 athletes expected to make the Team GB squad. That means the BBC are committing 55 per cent more staff than at the 2008 Beijing Olympics.

The BBC's London 2012 director Roger Mosey said having the Olympics in Britain was a "once-in-a-lifetime moment" and broadcasters were expected to "live up to the event". Pre-empting accusations of overspend, Mosey said the BBC was running "as efficient an operation as possible," pointing out that US broadcaster NBC would bring 2,800 staff to London, while Sky Sports have employed 130 staff for a single Premier League game.

Comparing the size of the BBC to the size of Team GB was "very strange", according to Mosey. "We have to cover all the nations taking part in the Olympics," he said. "Our teams are driven by the scale of the overall coverage, not the number of British athletes competing."

The BBC will deliver a record 2,500 hours of live action from the games, managing to squeeze what amounts to 33 hours of television footage from every day of the Games. There will also be four times as many TV channels and an extra radio station compared with 2008's coverage.

Such an expansive on-the-ground presence in London has raised questions about the timing of the BBC's move north to Salford. Mosey admitted that 23 per cent of the Corporation's team will be commuting the 200-mile distance from Manchester to the Olympic site, but rebuffed any suggestion that this will have a major impact on budgets.

"For those who do travel down, there will be overnight stays," he said. "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".

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