Examination of Witnesses (Questions 300
WEDNESDAY 9 NOVEMBER 2005
Ms Sue Campbell CBE
Q300 Lord Peston:
Did I hear you say in answer to Lord King that your total annual
expenditure is about 50 million?
Ms Campbell: Yes.
Q301 Lord Peston:
You said just now that we do not invest enough in sport. My guess
is that Chelsea's wage bill annually is about the same 50 million.
One then asks where should the money be coming from. Sport obviously
has values in many different ways but one is that competitive
sport, especially successful competitive sport, is enormously
important in developing a sense of national identity. Is there
not, on the whole question of who has access to seeing sport,
a fundamental matter of getting that access in order to promote
that sense of national identity? I am not clear what UK Sport
does that enables them to get involved with that sort of thing.
I have heard your view which is very supportive of the BBC. The
BBC is one of our few institutions that is the best in the world
by a long way, but are you able to put pressure on those bodies
to say, "We know the balancing problems but really your duty
is to this country and that is what you have to make sure it becomes
available to"? Could you imagine, for example, if the England
football team could not be watched by most people in this country?
It would be an extraordinary state of affairs.
Ms Campbell: Our leverageI can probably
speak for all the sports councils herevaries with different
sports. The four big sports that can generate significant commercial
incomesoccer, cricket, rugby and tennisgenerate
significant sums both from sponsorship and from television rights.
We as public sector investors can make not a huge difference to
their bottom or top line. Our ability to lead a change there is
very much more about influence. There is a whole raft of sports
who are very dependent on public sector investment both at grass
roots and elite level: rowing, sailing, cycling, equestrian. Our
ability to support and lever decisions there is much stronger
and I think you will find that we have done that very successfully.
Our ability to lever the decisions with those sports is very limited,
except through influence. We have to recognise that soccer is
very different virtually from everything else in terms of the
industry that it is. It is different in the way it conducts its
business, in the way it runs its board rooms and the amount of
money that is there to be used. It is independently run. The premier
league runs the premier league. The FA, as you know, is responsible
for the England team and there are some real challenges there
in terms of the governance issues that face that sport.
Q302 Lord Peston:
Do you feel it is part of your job to speak out on these matters?
Ms Campbell: When, from 1 April, we are responsible
for those sports I will be having discussions with them about
some of these issues. Would I speak out publicly against them
if I was working in partnership with them? No. I would work with
them very closely to see if we can make decisions in the best
interests of sport in this country.
Do the football bodies operate in a team in the same way that
you were talking about a team previously?
Ms Campbell: Dave Richards, who is the chairman
of the premier league, was present in Singapore and played his
part. Soccer speaks to nations around the world. He and his colleagues
did a very good job in supporting the bid in the best way that
they could across their own networks. They are very influential
networks across the world.
Q304 Baroness Howe of Idlicote:
On the business of crucial and significant, I think you were here
when Lord Holme was asking that question of the BBC. I just wondered
what you thought of how they approach this whole business of choosing
what is significant and crucial and whether you agree with that
or whether you could add anything.
Ms Campbell: In terms of the sports, any television
coverage is crucial because it can add massive value. It might
not be crucial to the BBC but it most certainly is crucial to
sport. It is this balance between providing a wide magazine type
opportunity for people as described to go into different activities
and sports, where we can excite different people's interests,
which is obviously a huge part of the role that we would want
the public broadcast body to play; and at the same time being
able to capture the audiences to justify some of the outside broadcast
costs they end up incurring. That is the reality for them. We
talk about covering events. I used to commentate for the BBC on
netball. I used to do an annual netball thing from Wembley. The
vast numbers of people, the vans that appeared and the huge technology
used to bewilder me. That is why they are the best in the world
but best in the world is not cheap. When they do outside broadcasting,
it is expensive. As a business they have to balance that cost
against audience numbers that justify to their own board why they
are going somewhere and not somewhere else. From our point of
view, we would love to see them keep pushing those boundaries.
In the run up to Athens they did a very good job. I think they
covered 20 of the 28 Olympic sports through Grandstand which did
excite and interest people and absolutely generated better coverage
at the Games. We would hope we can use the next six years to do
the same thing. I think their coverage of the Paralympics is leagues
ahead of anybody else in the world and they have helped to really
bring very positive, exciting images of people with a whole range
of disabilities achieving fantastic things.
Q305 Baroness Howe of Idlicote:
Do you think there is an adequately diverse and varied range?
In other words, is it stretching far enough to meet what you are
Ms Campbell: I joined the Women's Sports Foundation
to help them talk to the BBC about the issues around covering
women's sports because there is not a huge amount of coverage
of women's sport. They are looking at ways of making the coverage
of the sports they do more women friendly and they are also looking
at some of the wider issues. We have similar issues around cultural
diversity and ethnicity. We tend to broadcast in a way which speaks
to a certain type of person. Does it speak to all the population
of this country? Is it truly multicultural in its presentation
and is it truly diverse enough? Probably not, but there are not
many public sector bodies that are able to do that as effectively
as we would want them to. It is a challenge the BBC have to keep
accepting. They must communicate effectively with everyone in
our communities if we are truly going to use sport as a vehicle
to drive some of the change we want to see.
Q306 Baroness Howe of Idlicote:
You accepted the challenge that you would have a go at defining
sport, coming back to the minority aspect. I hear what your main
interest is, in getting the younger generation involved and interested
and perhaps also as a result away from other less desirable activities
and that is hugely important. On the other hand, we are facing
an ageing population and there are costs to be saved by keeping
them involved. I can always remember being thoroughly amused at
coming back to bridge to find there was some research which showed
that, by playing bridge, you improved your immune system. With
these thoughts in mind, you can see where I am coming from. Do
you take any account of the older population, those less able
to move about but equally enjoying what they regard as sport?
Your definition would be interesting.
Ms Campbell: UK Sport's remit is world class
success. We do not directly do that but Sport England, the Sports
Councils for Wales, Northern Ireland and Scotland are all very
committed to not only sport but physical activity, engaging people
in healthy, active lifestyles. That is about engaging people in
a whole range of activities that we might not categorise as pure
sportwalking, rambling, hiking, biking, caving, canoeing,
anything that gets people active and engaged. We are facing a
massive health issue with our younger generation. It is just waiting
to explode on us. We have a huge job to do to engage people in
active lifestyles, unlike when you and I were younger, being active
as part of the way we grew up. That is not true. You only have
to look at a playground in a school to see that children do not
run about any more. They stand still and, preferably, they are
sitting inside. Getting people active is now something we have
to rebuild back into people's lifestyles.
Q307 Lord King of Bridgwater:
What has come out of your evidence is the huge asset that the
BBC can be and if they cover sport it gives it a whole new impetus.
If they stop covering sport, there is a decline. I think we were
talking about squash and that is what happened there, but what
about Channel 4, ITV, Sky and the roles that they can play? Do
you have much of a relationship with them?
Ms Campbell: I think we have a pretty good relationship
with all of those people. Our job is not to select one partner
here; it is to recognise that the BBC is a public service broadcaster
and work as closely with them as we can to ensure that what they
do broadcast really adds value to our commitment to improve sport
in this country. We are also working closely with Sky and other
people to look at how we can add value through the work they are
doing. Sky, for example, at the moment are putting £1 million
a year into a programme which is using sport to tackle behavioural
issues in schools. There are real connections there that mean
we are looking to reinvest some of the money they are earning
Q308 Lord King of Bridgwater:
They are not the only ones who have a public service obligation.
You talked rather as though the BBC were the only ones who have.
Ms Campbell: I am sorry. I do not mean that.
Because you are talking about the BBC charter, I guess I am very
focused on the BBC. We have a communications team that builds
very good relationships with broadcasters and journalists.
Q309 Lord King of Bridgwater:
The overall judgment is, while you work with the others, you look
to the BBC as an essential role?
Ms Campbell: Absolutely. Whilst we would like
to continue to chivvy to move them in many of the directions your
questions would indicate, we value them and think they have a
significant role to play.
Q310 Lord Maxton:
Can I come back to the participation of the elderly? Do you actively
encourage elite veterans? Would you agree that the London Marathon
on television is a much more significant sporting event for the
general fitness of the nation than Chelsea playing Arsenal in
the Cup Final? I can look at Chelsea playing Arsenal and know
that I will never be there but I can look at the London Marathon
and see people older than me running in it and maybe one day I
might run in it. I have a brother who is two years younger than
me and he will run his fourth London Marathon next year. Surely
that is where participation matters. Would you list the London
Ms Campbell: Nick Patel, who is the chairman
of the London Marathon, sits on our board at UK Sport and I think
they do a terrific job. They have grown that to be one of the
major sporting events in the world, not just in London. It is
completely inspiring to see people in their very strange, comical
outfits jogging along or even walking along at the back. If Sport
England, Scotland, Wales and Northern Ireland were sitting here,
they would say to you that they want to galvanise and support
more of that and encourage more people to get active.
Q311 Lord Maxton:
Showing it on the BBC is what is important.
Ms Campbell: Absolutely.
On the acquisition of sports rights, you talked very sensibly
about the balance between maximum audience and maximum income,
but do you think that this is really essentially not a decision
for you; it is a decision for the governing bodies in sports?
Ms Campbell: It has to be because at the end
of the day it is their business. As UK Sport, we are a public
funder. We are an investor in those sports. We invest with a very
clear purpose and very clear targets, but we do not run those
sports and nor should we. They have governing bodies of their
own. They are managed independently. We can influence and I think
we do influence where we can. We have greater leverage to influence
some rather than others, but our job is to influence, guide and
How do you influence?
Ms Campbell: It depends whether they are dependent
on us for grants in aid. It gives us greater leverage than if
they are not.
We assume that the Football League and the Football Association
Ms Campbell: They come under our auspices from
1 April but even so we would never be able to invest them in a
way which would lever significantly. What we can do though is
work to influence and support. That is what our job should be
as a public sector investor.
Chairman: Thank you very much. You have been
very clear and your evidence has been quite excellent. If we have
any other points, perhaps we can come back to you.