BT has signed up award-winning broadcaster Clare Balding to present hr own “unique” chat show on its forthcoming BT Sport channel.
Balding, who was highly praised for her brilliant work fronting the BBC London 2012 Olympics and Channel 4’s Paralympics coverage, will present and co-produce a weekly sports magazine show which will feature interviews with major sporting names and discussion of big sporting issues.
BT says the show will also “shine a spotlight on women’s sport, giving the next generation the chance to fully embrace a variety of sports and sporting stars.”
Balding’s signing is the latest in a series of major developments as BT gears up to launch its sports channels to BT Vision and YouView from BT customers.
The channel is also expected to be available via rivals Sky and Virgin Media.
Last June the company won the rights to show 38 live Barclays Premier League games per season for three years, including 18 of the best quality ‘first pick’ games.
The games will be hosted by another high profile presenter Jake Humphrey
It has also signed deals to show Rugby Premiership matches and games from a number of international football leagues including Italy’s Serie A, France’s La Ligue 1 and Major League Soccer in the US and the Brazilian Football Championship.
In November it announced the new sports channels will be produced and based at the Olympic Broadcast Centre, located at the heart of the Queen Elizabeth Olympic Park.
The company has also signed a deal with the Women’s Tennis Association (WTA) to show up to 800 hours of live tennis, including the TEB BNP Paribas WTA Championships.
Simon Green, head of BT Sport, said: “We are thrilled to have signed a broadcaster of Clare’s calibre for BT Sport. She excels at presenting a variety of different sports and she showed last summer what an accomplished live performer she is.
“We wanted to give Clare an opportunity to anchor her own weekly show, which we see as a flagship programme for BT Sport. Clare shares our desire to highlight more women’s sports on our channels, so she will be a perfect choice.”
Balding will continue to present racing for Channel 4, as well as other radio and television work for the BBC.
Commenting on her new show, she said: “I’d like to thank BT for giving me the opportunity to present my own magazine style programme in which I can interview iconic sports stars and discuss newsworthy and stimulating topics.
“I’m enthused by BT’s vision for sports coverage in the future and particularly their support of women’s sport, an issue about which I feel very strongly. This is an exciting new venture for me and I can’t wait to get started.”