London 2012: BBC Executive Defends Size of Olympics Staff

The U.K. broadcaster has 765 staff covering the event, up from 493 in Beijing, but highlights that NBC is sending 2,700 people to the Summer Games.

LONDON - A top executive of U.K. public broadcaster has defended the company's bigger staff to cover the Summer Olympics that kick off here later this month amid some criticism.

The BBC has a dedicated staff of 765 to cover the Olympics, including celebrity pundits such as former soccer star Gary Lineker. That is a marked increase from the 493 people the broadcaster had sent to the Beijing Olympics in 2008.

"I look on it as a reminder of how passionately the audience cares what the BBC does and the way we do it," Dave Gordon, BBC Sport's head of major events, said in an interview with Radio Times magazine. "We've a hard-earned reputation for doing the Olympics well."

And he highlighted the U.S. TV commitment to the Summer Games from NBCUniversal. "Don't forget, NBC is flying 2,700 over from the USA," Gordon said. "So we're pretty lean and mean."

The BBC has said it will offer nearly wall-to-wall coverage on its BBC1 and BBC3 channels, with BBC1 coverage only to be interrupted by news programs.

Gordon acknowledged that the staffing level may come under renewed scrutiny if British athletes don't win enough gold medals. "Ultimately, one of the measures of the success of the Games and the success of our coverage will be how the British public feel about Team GB's performance," he said. "Say we have a barren first few days, we'll all get a little twitchy."


Twitter: @georgszalai

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