Never mind the Boat Race 

23 February 2004 tbs.pm/682

BBC sunk in Boat Race row

This highlights the anomaly that faces a public service broadcaster such as the BBC when faced with sporting events that are determined to become more sponsored and commercial as ever (and you thought that the Oxford and Cambridge Boat Race was just friendly rivalry between two universities!), but the BBC in this case is right to pull away from the event.

A public service broadcaster can acknowledge but should not overtly favour any commercial concerns since that would undermine the basic principle of the BBC being free from indirectly paid advertising (the recent row over the Coca-Cola sponsorship of the Official Singles Chart being another example of the fine line that the BBC sometimes has to tread), so in this case to continue with the Boat Race would result in the BBC’s basic remit being compromised to an unacceptable level.

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David Hastings Contact More by me

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Liverpool, Saturday 2 July 2022