Inside Lines: Green light as ambitious BT throw their hat into the ring


BT, the telecoms giant with ambitions to bring about a Skyfall – or at least a partial eclipse of the satellite channel's domination of TV sport – did not include boxing when announcing plans to launch two new subscription channels in July.

However, I understand they are likely to add the sport to a portfolio which already includes 39 Premier League games, tennis and rugby by acquiring BoxNation, the boxing channel set up 18 months ago by backers including promoter Frank Warren and Simon Green, now the head of BT Sport.

Green, formerly BoxNation's chief executive, remains an executive director and is keen to incorporate into BT's programming their daily output of news and interviews, plus regular live coverage of domestic and international fights. This would be seen as a further direct challenge to BSkyB, from whom Green has already snatched £738 million of Premier League TV rights.

Since the BBC ditched boxing, Sky were its prime outlet before the start of BoxNation, for which subscribers pay £10 a month. Last year Sky controversially signed an exclusive deal with Eddie Hearn's Matchroom, which upset other promoters.

One of BoxNation's attractions for BT is that they have links with Golden Boy, the US promoters now bidding to sign GB's Olympic stars, as well as exclusivity to the Warren stable and Frank Maloney's world heavyweight prospect David Price. BT's determination to be a major player in the TV sports market is underlined by a desire to bid for Champions' League and England matches, while it is believed they might even buy out the final years of ESPN's FA Cup contract.

Sparkes makes a splash

Unusually for a sports administrator, David Sparkes has never been shy of speaking his mind. But it appears he may have spoken out of turn by publicly chastising national treasure Tom Daley for his involvement with the ITV reality diving show Splash! His views have attracted scores of rebukes, from Lord Coe to Daley's mum, and may yet prove ill-timed for Sparkes, whose role as British Swimming's chief executive is under scrutiny following the sport's poor 2012 performance.

Sparkes, who commutes from his home in Germany, kept his head above water despite the deluge of criticism. But for how much longer?

British Swimming have a new chairman, the former Manchester United director Maurice Watkins, who is said to be unamused by this aquatic spat.

Plunging the depths

Never mind the Daley waterfall. What the hell is Gabby Logan doing co-hosting something as bad as Splash!? Herself a former international gymnast, she has become a terrific sports presenter, up there with Clare Balding and Sky's Jeff Stelling as the best.

Her appearance on Channel 4's Big Fat Quiz of the Year, when fellow panellists' schoolboy lewdness spewed out, left her inwardly squirming with embarrassment. As for Splash! – we see enough dodgy diving on Match of the Day, thanks.

Death on canvas

A fascinating piece of fistiana goes under the hammer later this month when a rare early portrait of a bare-knuckle fighter, George "The Coachman" Stevenson, whose death led to the first set of rules for boxing, is being sold by London auctioneers Bonhams.

Stevenson was the first recorded boxing fatality. He died a few days after a fierce 45-minute scrap with English champion Jack Broughton at Tottenham Fairgrounds in 1741, leading his opponent to draw up a code of rules to prevent a recurrence. These first boxing regulations were universally used until the Marquess of Queensberry's almost a century later.

The portrait of the Yorkshire pugilist, an oil on canvas, is estimated to fetch £10,000-£15,000 on 29 January.

Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Arts and Entertainment
The Bach Choir has been crowned the inaugural winner of Sky Arts’ show The Great Culture Quiz
arts + ents140-year-old choir declared winner of Sky Arts' 'The Great Culture Quiz'
Life and Style
food + drink
Caption competition
Caption competition
Latest stories from i100
Daily Quiz
Independent Dating

By clicking 'Search' you
are agreeing to our
Terms of Use.

Career Services
iJobs Job Widget
iJobs General

Recruitment Genius: Finance Director

£65000 - £80000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: Finance Director required to jo...

Recruitment Genius: Medico-Legal Assistant

£15000 - £25000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: This is a unique opportunity fo...

Ashdown Group: (PHP / Python) - Global Media firm

£50000 per annum + 26 days holiday,pension: Ashdown Group: A highly successful...

The Jenrick Group: Quality Inspector

£27000 per annum + pension + holidays: The Jenrick Group: A Quality Technician...

Day In a Page

Homeless Veterans appeal: 'You look for someone who's an inspiration and try to be like them'

Homeless Veterans appeal

In 2010, Sgt Gary Jamieson stepped on an IED in Afghanistan and lost his legs and an arm. He reveals what, and who, helped him to make a remarkable recovery
Could cannabis oil reverse the effects of cancer?

Could cannabis oil reverse effects of cancer?

As a film following six patients receiving the controversial treatment is released, Kate Hilpern uncovers a very slippery issue
The Interview movie review: You can't see Seth Rogen and James Franco's Kim Jong Un assassination film, but you can read about it here

The Interview movie review

You can't see Seth Rogen and James Franco's Kim Jong Un assassination film, but you can read about it here
Serial mania has propelled podcasts into the cultural mainstream

How podcasts became mainstream

People have consumed gripping armchair investigation Serial with a relish typically reserved for box-set binges
Jesus Christ has become an unlikely pin-up for hipster marketing companies

Jesus Christ has become an unlikely pin-up

Kevin Lee Light, aka "Jesus", is the newest client of creative agency Mother while rival agency Anomaly has launched Sexy Jesus, depicting the Messiah in a series of Athena-style poses
Rosetta space mission voted most important scientific breakthrough of 2014

A memorable year for science – if not for mice

The most important scientific breakthroughs of 2014
Christmas cocktails to make you merry: From eggnog to Brown Betty and Rum Bumpo

Christmas cocktails to make you merry

Mulled wine is an essential seasonal treat. But now drinkers are rediscovering other traditional festive tipples. Angela Clutton raises a glass to Christmas cocktails
5 best activity trackers

Fitness technology: 5 best activity trackers

Up the ante in your regimen and change the habits of a lifetime with this wearable tech
Paul Scholes column: It's a little-known fact, but I have played one of the seven dwarves

Paul Scholes column

It's a little-known fact, but I have played one of the seven dwarves
Fifa's travelling circus once again steals limelight from real stars

Fifa's travelling circus once again steals limelight from real stars

Club World Cup kicked into the long grass by the continued farce surrounding Blatter, Garcia, Russia and Qatar
Frank Warren column: 2014 – boxing is back and winning new fans

Frank Warren: Boxing is back and winning new fans

2014 proves it's now one of sport's biggest hitters again
Jeb Bush vs Hillary Clinton: The power dynamics of the two first families

Jeb Bush vs Hillary Clinton

Karen Tumulty explores the power dynamics of the two first families
Stockholm is rivalling Silicon Valley with a hotbed of technology start-ups

Stockholm is rivalling Silicon Valley

The Swedish capital is home to two of the most popular video games in the world, as well as thousands of technology start-ups worth hundreds of millions of pounds – and it's all happened since 2009
Did Japanese workers really get their symbols mixed up and display Santa on a crucifix?

Crucified Santa: Urban myth refuses to die

The story goes that Japanese store workers created a life-size effigy of a smiling "Father Kurisumasu" attached to a facsimile of Our Lord's final instrument of torture
Jennifer Saunders and Kate Moss join David Walliams on set for TV adaptation of The Boy in the Dress

The Boy in the Dress: On set with the stars

Walliams' story about a boy who goes to school in a dress will be shown this Christmas