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5 Live loses two Premier League packs

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5 Live loses two Premier League packs
The BBC has lost a third of its live Premier League radio matches after TalkSport secured exclusive rights to late afternoon Saturday and early Sunday kick-offs.

UTV-owned station TalkSport grabbed two of the seven rights packages being offered by the Premier League to double its live games to 64 for next season. The three-year deal starts in August 2010.

The BBC only managed to secure four packages, constituting 128 games, well under the 192 that are being broadcast on BBC Radio 5 Live for the current season.

As recently revealed, Absolute Radio picked up the remaining pack of 32 games as the commercial station diversifies its music and entertainment roster.

Under the new arrangement, 5 Live will no longer broadcast the 5.30pm kick-off games on Saturdays or the 1.30pm matches on Sundays, which have both gone to TalkSport.

However, the BBC retained the premium first choice 3pm Saturday kick-offs, along with the earlier 12.30pm matches, and Sunday 4pm and Monday 8pm games. Absolute will have second choice on all Saturday 3pm ties.

TalkSport chief executive Scott Taunton said that the new rights arrangement represents a "great day" for the station and for the commercial radio industry in general.

"To have won the rights to broadcast live and exclusive Barclays Premier League football on both a Saturday and a Sunday, when no other national radio broadcaster - including the BBC - has commentary, puts the station at the very heart of Premier League football in the UK," he said.

"Our distinctive, passionate and energetic approach to Premier League commentaries has proved to have widespread appeal. We're now able to provide listeners and advertisers with the best Premier League action through our live commentaries as well as all the up-to-the-minute action from around the grounds."

BBC Radio 5 Live controller Adrian Van Klaveren expressed his delight at securing four Premier League packages in the face of "unprecedented competition".

He said: "We know how important live football, above all the Premier League, is to our audience so it is very good news that we will continue to offer 5 Live listeners the fullest football coverage, including not only the Premier League but also the Champions' League, international matches, the FA Cup, the Football League and Scottish Premier League."

Premier League chief executive Richard Scudamore added: "We are extremely pleased that we've been able to continue and develop our relationship with TalkSport and that the station will now be home to not one, but two live and exclusive Barclays Premier League matches every weekend."

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