BBC loses rights to Town home games

BBC Radio Suffolk has lost the rights to broadcast Ipswich Town home games to independent station SGR FM.

Derek Davis

BBC Radio Suffolk has lost the rights to broadcast Ipswich Town home games to independent station SGR FM.

The BBC have held the full rights for football commentary for the Championship side for more than 10 years but from the start of the new season, SGR FM will be providing the service for every match, home and away.

The deal covers the next three years, and would include the Premiership, should the club win promotion.

It is possible that Radio Suffolk will still cover away games.

BBC Suffolk's coverage has not always been appreciated by Ipswich Town who have accused the station at times of being too critical and that could have been a factor in the club switching to the commercial station.

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BBC Suffolk editor Peter Cook said: "We share the disappointment of so many fans that we have lost the right to do commentary at home matches after following the club since the station opened in 1990.

“We believe audiences across Suffolk who will now not be able to hear a commentary service will share that disappointment.

“We offered an attractive enhanced package which would still give value to licence fee payers but would reflect the club's success

“We will continue to chart the highs and lows of the club next season.

“We remain passionate about the team and the county. We know how much fans valued the BBC's independence and ability to give voice to their worries and concerns alongside relishing the chance to celebrate the club's success, as we did by organising the recent 30 year celebrations of Town's FA Cup win which thousands of fans appreciated.”

Not that it is of any concern to SGR FM's programme controller Dan Thorpe.

He said “Being a local lad, I'm well aware of the passion that surrounds ITFC and I'm over the moon to have secured this exclusive deal for SGR FM at such an exciting time for the club.

“We've been working on this for quite some time, and I'm pleased to say we have some really fresh plans to deliver commentary that fans will really identify with and enjoy.”

It was revealed two weeks ago that SGR planned to broadcast full commentary from Portman Road.

But SGR FM is in the process of signing a commentator and pundit, and may be in place in time for the three Town friendlies taking place in Northern Ireland in July.

Blues commercial director Andrew Goulborn said: “Ipswich Town is delighted to be working with SGR FM over the next three years.

“The strength of the proposal put before us, both in terms of commitment to unbroken match commentary and general coverage of the club, we believe, is exciting and will appeal to both existing SGR listeners and those who may be tuning in for the first time.

“We have enjoyed a good relationship with BBC Radio Suffolk regarding their commentary and general coverage of Ipswich Town for many years.

“Although SGR FM has been successful in acquiring exclusive commentary rights for the next three seasons, we will continue to work in many ways with BBC Radio Suffolk and their continued coverage of the Club.”