Now the games are done

So, unless they suddenly remember a third set of sporting events they’d agreed to hold in London this year, that’s it for the 2012 Games. There’s been a lot of talk about how we can carry forward all the good feeling and the spirit of the Games, but rather than go into a general ‘why the Olympics and Paralympics prove we must support my politics‘ piece I wanted to look at sport on TV, following on from this post I wrote during the Olympics about BBC Sport.

I was prompted into it by noticing that while Channel 4’s coverage of the Paralympics was excellent, the only mention of sport on C4 in the future was all the horse racing coverage they have coming up in the next year. As with the Olympic sports, there’s been lots of talk about how exciting and interesting the Paralympic sports have been to watch, but few moves to bring them to the viewing public. Yes, people could get up off their couches to watch it live, but not everyone has what they want to see available on the doorstep, or the means to travel and see it.

The point I’m ambling towards is that this summer has shown that not only are there great athletes competing in a huge variety of sports, but that there’s an audience that wants to watch them. Surely it’s not beyond the wit of the TV companies to realise that and bring it to our screens? It doesn’t have to be the huge sporting glut of the last month – though I expect sports channel viewing figures to go up as people avoid going cold turkey with their viewing habits – but a return of something like Grandstand or World Of Sport. Rather than shunting each sport off into a separate programme, have something that shows everything, that – like the Games did – can surprise you by introducing you to something fascinating that you’ve never seen before.

Rather than the absurdity of watching men watching football on screens we’re not allowed to see and shouting the score, why not give the public actual sport, played by a wide range of people?

Two thoughts on BBC Sport from the Olympics

It’s all still ongoing, but I wanted to set these down before I forget them.

First, the Olympics Live red button coverage has been great. Just getting to flick through and watch everything that’s going on live, without someone deciding what we should be watching is a whole new way to watch sport. So why not continue this after the Olympics? Every weekend, there’s lots of sport going on across the country – and further afield – so why not make the live coverage (there doesn’t have to be commentary) available? They could even rebrand the multiple feeds as a revival of Grandstand, which always had the aim of showing viewers a range of different sports in an afternoon.

Second, should BBC Sport introduce a system of parity for men’s and women’s sports? Not just in terms of one-off events, but as a culture – if Football Focus and Match Of The Day are concentrating on the Premier League, then there should be equivalent programmes covering the Women’s Super League, for instance. There have been lots of laments recently about there not being enough live sport to cover because Sky have bought it all up, but that only seems to apply to the men’s versions of them – why shouldn’t the national broadcaster focus on the sport played by the majority of the population instead?