A senior BBC executive has warned that the ailing national broadcaster could lose the rights to major sporting events if the TV licence fee is cut.
Barbara Slater, who receives an annual salary of £180k in her role as Director of BBC Sport, cited the Olympics as one such event that could be at risk if the Conservative Government follows-through with its much anticipated overhaul of the archaic TV licence system.
|BBC Director of Sport Barbara Taylor, who earns £40k more than the Prime Minister (£180k) and claimed almost £10k in expenses in 2013-14.|
Speaking at the Daily Telegraph's Business of Sport conference Mrs Slater said: "Having had a number of years now flat licence fee, which has resulted in smaller budget for individual divisions such as sport, there is going to come a tipping point at which the BBC does need investment if it is going to continue to compete for, I think, events that people really treasure on the BBC, like the Olympics and some of the major championships.
"And, of course, we're exploring a multitude of different solutions to that, including sharing with other broadcasters. And there is still a very, very significant investment that we're currently making.
"But to see that on a significantly downward trajectory, I think, would be enormously damaging to the ecology of sports broadcasting."
Speaking at the same event Niall Sloane, the ITV Director of Sport, criticised the way the TV licence fee was spent: "No matter how many people from the BBC tell you they've cut this and they've cut that, there are swathes of people doing jobs that don't need to exist and doing them in a mediocre way."
The BBC has exclusive UK rights to broadcast Wimbledon until 2017 and the Olympics until 2020.
God only knows how we'd all survive if the BBC had to shelve its Wimbledon coverage!
Like turkeys at Christmas, we'd expect a lot of BBC executives to trot out soundbites in a desperate effort to save their own necks.