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.

a.hubbard@independent.co.uk

Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Caption competition
Caption competition
Latest stories from i100
Daily Quiz
Independent Dating
and  

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

Career Services
iJobs Job Widget
iJobs General

Recruitment Genius: Client Manager

£27000 - £35000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: A growing, successful, friendly...

Recruitment Genius: Property Negotiator - OTE £20,000+

£16000 - £25000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: This family owned, independent ...

Recruitment Genius: Sales Administrator - Spanish Speaking

£17000 - £21000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: This is a fantastic opportunity...

Recruitment Genius: Sales Administrator - German Speaking

£17000 - £23000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: This is a fantastic opportunity...

Day In a Page

The Greek referendum exposes a gaping hole at the heart of the European Union – its distinct lack of any genuine popular legitimacy

Gaping hole at the heart of the European Union

Treatment of Greece has shown up a lack of genuine legitimacy
Number of young homeless in Britain 'more than three times the official figures'

'Everything changed when I went to the hostel'

Number of young homeless people in Britain is 'more than three times the official figures'
Compton Cricket Club

Compton Cricket Club

Portraits of LA cricketers from notorious suburb to be displayed in London
London now the global money-laundering centre for the drug trade, says crime expert

Wlecome to London, drug money-laundering centre for the world

'Mexico is its heart and London is its head'
The Buddhist temple minutes from Centre Court that helps a winner keep on winning

The Buddhist temple minutes from Centre Court

It helps a winner keep on winning
Is this the future of flying: battery-powered planes made of plastic, and without flight decks?

Is this the future of flying?

Battery-powered planes made of plastic, and without flight decks
Isis are barbarians – but the Caliphate is a dream at the heart of all Muslim traditions

Isis are barbarians

but the Caliphate is an ancient Muslim ideal
The Brink's-Mat curse strikes again: three tons of stolen gold that brought only grief

Curse of Brink's Mat strikes again

Death of John 'Goldfinger' Palmer the latest killing related to 1983 heist
Greece debt crisis: 'The ministers talk to us about miracles' – why Greeks are cynical ahead of the bailout referendum

'The ministers talk to us about miracles'

Why Greeks are cynical ahead of the bailout referendum
Call of the wild: How science is learning to decode the way animals communicate

Call of the wild

How science is learning to decode the way animals communicate
Greece debt crisis: What happened to democracy when it’s a case of 'Vote Yes or else'?

'The economic collapse has happened. What is at risk now is democracy...'

If it doesn’t work in Europe, how is it supposed to work in India or the Middle East, asks Robert Fisk
The science of swearing: What lies behind the use of four-letter words?

The science of swearing

What lies behind the use of four-letter words?
The Real Stories of Migrant Britain: Clive fled from Zimbabwe - now it won't have him back

The Real Stories of Migrant Britain

Clive fled from Zimbabwe - now it won’t have him back
Africa on the menu: Three foodie friends want to popularise dishes from the continent

Africa on the menu

Three foodie friends want to popularise dishes from the hot new continent
Donna Karan is stepping down after 30 years - so who will fill the DKNY creator's boots?

Who will fill Donna Karan's boots?

The designer is stepping down as Chief Designer of DKNY after 30 years. Alexander Fury looks back at the career of 'America's Chanel'