SPORTS AGENDA: BBC Sport is getting down with the kids

SPORTS AGENDA: BBC Sport is getting down with the kids

Another week, another tale of the BBC‘s obsession with attracting a younger audience.

The broadcaster is sending all its production staff on training courses to apparently equip them with the skills to attract the under 35s.

An email sent earlier this month by head of sport Barbara Slater tells staffers that the key objective (just in case they had not figured it out) is to increase impact with the under 35s and these sessions will show them how.

BBC Sport are trying is to equip their staff with the skills to attract the under-35 demographic

Focus will be placed on social media, and what content works on different outlets. Presumably we can expect more ‘top bantz’.

Meanwhile, Sports Agenda wondered last week if the broadcaster, which has dispensed with the services of racing correspondent Cornelius Lysaght, was in the process of abandoning the sport.

It was pleasing, then, to hear 5 Live cut away from its football coverage for live action from Cheltenham on Saturday.

A BBC spokesperson said John Hunt’s commentary was a long-standing feature and it reflected ‘business as usual’.

A BBC spokesperson said John Hunt’s horse racing commentary was a long-standing feature

World Athletics cuts costs 

World Athletics have introduced a policy that states staff are not permitted to take seats in business class for flights of less than six hours, a move which has saved around £80,000.

However, thanks to the introduction of a no-fly zone, the journey to Doha for the World Championships was extended beyond that duration.

Regardless, economy seats were still booked and when Qatar Airways upgraded Lord Coe, he admirably declined the offer. Witnesses smiled when the president subsequently pretended to crawl to the front of the plane following take-off.

Manchester United staff go the extra mile

Ole Gunnar Solskjaer’s misfiring Manchester United would do well to look at the club’s ticketing department for inspiration.

On Thursday, staff worked through the night to conduct a ballot for Sunday’s FA Cup trip to Tranmere, print the tickets and send them out to fans via recorded delivery to ensure they arrived on Saturday morning.

What a well-oiled machine. If only the same could be said about those representing United on the field in the Premier League this season.

Man United staff worked through the night to ensure tickets we delivered in time for Tranmere

Questionable camera work

Viewers of Sky Sports’ coverage of the fourth Test in South Africa would be forgiven for thinking they have gone back to a bygone era. It has been noticeable that on a number of occasions camera operators at the Wanderers have pointed their lenses at young females in the crowd.

In fairness to Sky, they are in the hands of host broadcaster Supersport and have no control over the pictures. They say that with seven hours to fill, crowd shots are commonplace and that men, women and children are filmed.

At one point on Sunday, the producer had to cut away when two young women dressed in bikini bottoms were in the centre of the picture and one began to take off her sweater. 

Ashley in line for £60m Brucie bonus 

Should Newcastle United’s £340million takeover go through, Mike Ashley may well have more than one reason to celebrate.

Earlier this month, the Toon supremo met manager Steve Bruce to discuss transfer budgets. Sources have told Sports Agenda that the owner was willing to allow Bruce to spend up to £60m in this transfer window.

However, Bruce is understood to have told his boss that he would like the cash to go towards recruitment in the summer, should they be unable to attract the right calibre of player midway through the season.

And if no significant reinforcements are added over the next five days, Ashley will have saved himself a considerable sum — with the Saudi-led consortium to pick up the bill for any summer activity.

Mike Ashley will have saved himself a considerable sum if Newcastle don’t buy this window

Pichot could prove trouble for Beaumont 

Sir Bill Beaumont has announced he is running for a second term as president of World Rugby in May. Sir Bill should be a shoo-in after the success of the Rugby World Cup in Japan.

But one fly in the ointment could be Agustin Pichot, the former Argentina scrum-half and Beaumont’s running mate four years ago. Pichot was expected to be Beaumont’s successor as part of the deal, but Pichot is now sniping at Bill for allegedly favouring the big rugby nations — and he appears to have growing support.

In a clear political move, Beaumont has chosen France Rugby president Bernard Laporte as his running mate this time. A bitter election battle may be on the cards.

Agustin Pichot (left) has accused Sir Bill Beaumont (right) for favouring the big rugby nations

Umbro looking to sponsor rugby clubs

As Sportsmail revealed last year, Umbro will become England rugby’s kit suppliers after the Six Nations in a multi-million-pound deal. 

And it would appear the Cheshire-based firm, historically associated with football, are not done there. Sources have said Umbro have set their sights on agreements with ‘a couple’ of Premiership rugby sides for next season.

Magician not needed for the cup

The magic of the FA Cup has indeed vanished at one Premier League club, Sports Agenda can disclose. That is because officials at the unnamed outfit have dispensed with the services of their resident magician for matches in the competition. 

The conjurer is a mainstay at Premier League games, entertaining corporate clients. While his act does not include a bed of nails, cutbacks have been blamed for the miserly move.

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