A new 24-hour TV channel airing coverage of 24 sports featured at the Olympics is to be launched in November. London Legacy will feature cycling, athletics, wrestling, gymnastics and judo.
The new satellite television channel is setting out to capitalise on the buzz following London’s successful Olympics by showing minority sports featured at the Games.
The channel has been created by Yorkshire-based TV company Highflyer, the former producers of Channel 4’s horse racing coverage before the contract was handed to IMG.
The 24-hour broadcast channel will be available only to BSkyB satellite subscribers when it launches, but there is hope of further distribution.
Highflyer chairman John Fairley said that it was an “enormous opportunity” to tap into the success of London 2012, which was watched by more than 50 million people in the UK for at least 15 minutes over the two-week run.
Team GB’s best haul of medals since 1908 has also led to a huge spike of interest in athletics and Olympic disciplines from people in Britain.
However, Fairley believes that most Olympic sports “just don’t get enough coverage” on television.
He explained that many minority sports have a “very high” number of participants, such as 40,000 in the UK for judo, but no broadcaster has the confidence to back them.
“The amount on athletics on the main channels has been very small, especially when you think of all the disciplines within athletics, but the Games has changed all that,” he said in a statement.
“We have had two or three companies, including one Olympic sponsor, make very serious undertakings [to back the channel] in the last week.”
Highflyer is understood to have paid around £5m to secure the rights to various competitions to enable the channel to launch.