U.K.'s BT Poaches BBC Olympics Executive for Planned Sports Channel

The telecom giant hires BBC London 2012 Olympic Games production chief Jamie Hindhaugh as COO of its startup network after hiring a BBC announcer to be its face.

LONDON – U.K. telecoms giant and pay TV operator BT has lured Jamie Hindhaugh, one of the BBC's London 2012 Olympic Games executive tsars, to run its start-up sports channel.

BT said Hindhaugh, most recently the BBC's head of production for London 2012, will join its start-up channel in mid-October as chief operating officer.

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Hindhaugh will be jointly responsible for launching the start-up channel, tasked with overseeing day-to-day operations, all the while ensuringthe channel "is run as effectively and efficiently as possible."

As head of production for London 2012, Hindhaugh's key responsibility was to implement and manage the delivery of the multiplatform coverage for BBC across both the Olympic and Paralympic Games, incorporating the torch relay, athletes’ parade and other associated programming.

Hindhaugh said: "This is a fantastic opportunity for me, and really addresses the ‘where do you go from there?’ question after the London 2012 Olympics. I’m really excited to be joining at a time when I can help shape the channel, and ensure we deliver a quality viewing experience that all sports fans will want to be a part of. I think as a TV person, launching a channel is something you can only usually dream of, and now I’m going to make that happen."

BT Vision CEO Marc Watson said: HIndhaugh will help set up "and deliver a fantastic quality broadcast channel."

BT recently unveiled a £152 million ($245 million) four-year deal to air exclusive live coverage of the Aviva Rugby Premiership, starting 2013/14 season.

In June this year, BT also paid £246 million ($399 million) for the rights to show 38 live games of premiership soccer, including the opening game of the season.

This represents a quarter of the 154 matches to be shown each season. The three-year deal is for the season starting 2013/14.

And earlier this week, BT also poached BBC sports broadcaster Jake Humphrey to front its upcoming Premier League soccer channel coverage.