Channel 4 want to end the BBC's 40-year London Marathon run with broadcaster keen to snap ip race

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Channel 4 want to end the BBC’s 40-year London Marathon run with broadcaster keen to add the iconic race to their expanding coverage… after they secured England’s Test series in India and Emma Raducanu’s US Open victory

  • Channel 4 are looking to add London Marathon to their growing sports coverage
  • Sportsmail has been told Channel 4 have submitted the most compelling offer
  • The iconic Marathon has been televised by the BBC since it started back in 1981 


Channel 4 want to end BBC television’s 40-year coverage of the London Marathon with the terrestrial broadcaster eager to add the iconic race to their growing sports coverage.  

Sportsmail has been told that Channel 4 have submitted the most compelling offer for a multi-year deal that would begin with this year’s race on October 2, although London Marathon sources insist that a final decision has yet to be made.

The Marathon has been televised by the BBC since the initial running of the event in 1981, with their extensive coverage expanding to include radio and online channels in recent years, so losing the rights to a major national event would be a major blow. 

Channel 4 want to end BBC television’s 40-year coverage of the London Marathon (above)

Channel 4 want to end BBC television’s 40-year coverage of the London Marathon (above)

They have submitted the most compelling offer for a multi-year deal that would begin this year

They have submitted the most compelling offer for a multi-year deal that would begin this year

However, the broadcaster allowed their previous four-year contract to lapse last year without negotiating an extension, enabling Channel 4 to come in with a counter bid.

Channel 4 have emerged as major players over the last year as more sports rights have been sold to terrestrial stations.

In a surprise move they outbid Sky Sports for live coverage of England’s Test series in India last winter, and have since secured Emma Raducanu’s US Open final victory in September, regular Super League matches and Chelsea’s Club World Cup win.

Channel 4 also secured coverage for Emma Raducanu's US Open final triumph in September

Channel 4 also secured coverage for Emma Raducanu’s US Open final triumph in September

The Raducanu coup was a particular triumph, as the BBC had expected to win the live rights. 

Their failure to do so led to their highlights contract being scrapped. The BBC could yet return with an improved offer, although they have appeared reluctant to commit resources to buying athletics rights in recent years. 

Negotiations with both World Athletics and UK Athletics went to the 11th hour before the BBC finally agreed to extend their contract to cover the Diamond League and major domestic meetings.

The Marathon has been pushed back from its usual April slot to October for the third successive year to give entrants more chance of taking part as Covid restrictions ease.

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