TalkSport to Retain Radio Broadcast Rights for Lions Tour of South Africa

TalkSport is expected to retain the radio broadcast rights for next year’s British and Irish Lions tour of South Africa, Sport Telegraph can reveal.

It is understood that the commercial station is seen as the “leader” in securing the rights to exclusive coverage of the six-week, eight-game series for what would be their third consecutive tour.

BBC Sport has also submitted an offer for the rights but sources have indicated that TalkSport’s offer is “more attractive” while the station has the advantage of not being constrained by the commercial restrictions imposed on the BBC when it is about naming the Lions sponsors.

The decision has yet to be ratified by the Lions board of directors, but broadcasters are expected to be notified before the end of the month.

The tour is considered attractive to TalkSport as there is only a small overlap with the Euro 21 football championships and they have the option to broadcast matches on their second station, TalkSport 2.

TalkSport has had the exclusive rights to the two previous tours, to Australia in 2013 and New Zealand in 2017 and it is expected that their broadcast team will be led by Andrew McKenna and will include former internationals from each of the four unions of origin.

Sport Telegraph revealed in March that Sky Sports had secured the television rights to broadcast the tour, with kick off times scheduled so there would be no clashes with Olympic events in Tokyo next summer.

The Lions also struck an unprecedented deal to allow film crews to make a short-lived documentary for the first time featuring footage from inside both camps.

Lions insiders are hoping the documentary could become the rugby equivalent of Michael Jordan’s The Last Dance series on Chicago Bulls basketball team to help cover the costs of the tour – which should be $ 18. million pounds for tourists – at a time when rugby’s finances are strained due to the Impact of Covid-19.

The tour is scheduled to start against the Stormers in Cape Town on July 3 and end with the third test against the Springboks on August 7 in Johannesburg.

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