ATHLETICS: London Marathon to stay on the BBC until 2018

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BBC Sport will continue to broadcast live coverage of the London Marathon until at least 2018 after signing a new contract with the race organisers.

Announced on the eve of the 2012 event, the new long-term deal gives the BBC exclusive broadcast rights one of the world’s most iconic marathon races across all of its platforms, including TV, radio, internet and mobile.

The BBC has been the broadcast partner for the London Marathon since its inception in 1981 and the event has since grown into one of the most important on the long-distance calendar, as well as raising millions of pounds for charity.

More than one million people are expected to line the route for this year’s race, which will feature somes of the world’s top elite athletes as well as around 35,000 mass runners all participating for their chosen causes.

Barbara Slater, the BBC’s Director of Sport, said: “We’re delighted to continue our longstanding partnership with the London Marathon.

“This prestigious race is a hugely important national event and a key part of BBC Sport’s calendar. We look forward to bringing the full spectacle live to audiences through to 2018 across the BBC platforms.”

The event’s current broadcast contract with the BBC was due to expire in 2014. The new four-year secures coverage of the race on BBC TV and all other outlets from 2015 to 2018.

David Bedford, joint race director of the Virgin London Marathon, says: “The BBC has been a vital partner of the London Marathon since it started in 1981 and its unrivalled coverage is a key ingredient of the event’s success and popularity, not only in Britain but across the world.

“We are delighted with this new agreement which ensures the event will continue to enjoy the profile it deserves over the coming years.”

Live coverage of the 2012 Virgin London Marathon starts this Sunday (April 22) at 8.30am on BBC One, BBC Radio 5 Live and online via the BBC Sport website.

Sue Barker presents all the action on BBC One and BBC One HD, along with Jonathan Edwards, and Colin Jackson, Denise Lewis, Phil Jones and Sonali Shah will be reporting from various points along the 26.2-mile course.

Commentary comes from Steve Cram, Brendan Foster, Paul Dickenson and Baroness Tanni Grey-Thompson.

Digital viewers can choose which race they watch via the red button with a choice of commentaries and the action will also be streamed live online.

Jonathan Edwards will present a highlights programme rounding up the day’s events on BBC Two at 5pm.

All of the BBC’s coverage will be available to watch again on BBC iPlayer for seven days after transmission.

BBC Radio 5 live will bring extensive coverage of the 2012 London Marathon, presented by John Inverdale from 8.30am.

Reporters Helen Skelton, George Riley and Sonja McLaughlan will be around the course, with commentary provided by former British London Marathon winner Charlie Spedding.

CLICK HERE – for further details on the BBC’s 2012 London Marathon coverage

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