BBC Radio 5 Sports Extra

BBC Radio 5 Sports Extra (formerly BBC Radio 5 Live Sports Extra) is a national digital radio station in the United Kingdom, operated by the BBC, and specialising in extended live sports coverage. It is a sister station to BBC Radio 5 Live and shares facilities, presenters and management, and is a department of the BBC North Group division.

BBC Radio 5 Sports Extra
Logo used since 2022
Broadcast areaUnited Kingdom
FrequencyDAB: 12B
Freeview: 706
Freesat: 706
Sky (UK only): 0131
Virgin Media: 908
Virgin Media Ireland: 928
BBC Radio 5 Live
First air date
2 February 2002 (2002-02-02)
Former names
BBC Radio 5 Live Sports Extra (2002–2022)
WebcastWeb Stream
WebsiteBBC Radio 5 Sports Extra

If a news story breaks during the live sport broadcasts on 5 Live, the sports coverage will be redirected and continued on 5 Sports Extra, whilst 5 Live switches to live news.

The station is only available on digital radio, television platforms and BBC Sounds. Due to licensing reasons, since 25 July 2016, international streaming of the station has not been available.

According to RAJAR, the station broadcasts to a weekly audience of 1.7 million with a listening share of 0.6% as of September 2022.


Radio Five Live Sports Extra logo (2002–07)
Radio 5 Live Sports Extra logo (2007–2022)

BBC Radio Five Live Sports Extra launched as part of the BBC's expansion into digital radio by launching several digital only stations that would complement existing coverage. At the time of launch, all radio sports coverage was included as part of BBC Radio 5 Live's mix of news and sport, the longwave frequencies of BBC Radio 4 or on individual BBC Local Radio stations. As these platforms could not accommodate any additional sports, a new service was launched: BBC Radio Five Live Sports Extra. The station began broadcasts at 2:30 pm on 2 February 2002. Juliette Ferrington introduced the first programme – commentary of Manchester United against Sunderland.

In 2007, the station was rebranded in line with the rest of the network. The new BBC Radio 5 Live Sports Extra logo was turned into a circular based logo in the colour green; according to research, the green colour was chosen as people associated it with sport.[1] In addition, a new background of blue and red diagonal lines on the same green colour was adopted for promotions for the service. Along with the rebrand, Sports Extra became more closely aligned with 5 Live. As a result, the online presence of the station was toned down with only an upcoming schedule remaining; all other details were merged into the 5 Live website or the new BBC Radio online homepage.

In 2011 the station, along with 5 Live, moved to MediaCityUK in Salford.

In 2022, the station's name was shortened to Radio 5 Sports Extra as part of a rebranding of the BBC.[2]


The remit of BBC Radio 5 live Sports Extra is to bring a greater choice of live action to sports fans by offering a part-time extension of BBC Radio 5 live. The service should aim to provide increased value for licence fee payers from the portfolio of sports rights already owned by the BBC by offering alternative coverage to that provided on other UK-wide BBC services. All output on 5 live Sports Extra should be live sports coverage.

BBC Trust, BBC Radio 5 Live Sports Extra Remit[3]

BBC Radio 5 Sports Extra is broadcast only on digital platforms. It is transmitted on DAB Digital Radio and on digital television through satellite services, such as Sky and Freesat, cable operators, such as Virgin Media, DTT services via Freeview, and on IPTV.[4] The service is also available online through the BBC website, the BBC Sounds service and the Radioplayer service part owned by the BBC. The BBC Sounds platform also re-broadcasts programmes for catch-up after original broadcast. Due to rights restrictions, some programmes are restricted to UK audiences or are not available on the BBC's online services.[4]

BBC Radio 5 Sports Extra's base in Quay House, MediaCityUK.

The station is a part-time service, only airing during ongoing sports broadcasts. The broadcasts themselves are live and uninterrupted, unlike sports coverage on Radio 5 Live (which breaks for regular news bulletins) and Radio 4 Longwave (which adds regular scheduled opt-outs such as The Daily Service and the Shipping Forecast into coverage). During Sports Extra's downtime, the station does not simulcast any other broadcast. A label for Sports Extra is continuously radiated on the DAB Digital Radio multiplex to allow those tuning their radio to store the station to their device even if it is not on air. On digital TV platforms, where Sports Extra has its own dedicated full-time stream, not sharing feed capacity with any other services, a looping promotional barker is played if no live programming is scheduled; the EPG information during this reel will often give details of the next live event to be covered by the station, should this information be available. The Sports Extra internet stream, which used to go off air when live content was not running, now also broadcasts the promo loop.

The station's controller is Jonathan Wall, who is also responsible for 5 Live and is answerable to the BBC North and BBC Audio & Music departments.[5] The station operates from Quay House in MediaCityUK on a single floor alongside 5 Live. Although 5 Sports Extra uses no studio space, the teams required to organise the match coverage are shared with 5 Live. The move to Salford took two months, and occurred alongside 5 Live, in a bid to create a northern media hub and to outsource major production from London. Previously, 5 Sports Extra had been located alongside 5 Live in BBC Television Centre and spread over several floors.[6]


5 Sports Extra broadcast a variety of sports including:

Through the 2012 season, 5 Live and 5 Live Sports Extra carried NFL late games broadcast on Sunday evening, with coverage taken from Westwood One, except the NFL International Series and Super Bowl, which used BBC-produced commentaries. Absolute Radio 90s acquired the broadcast rights to the NFL beginning in 2013. BBC Radio 5 Live and 5 Live Sports Extra reacquired the rights to NFL games for the 2014–15 playoffs.[7]

See also


  1. Plunkett, John (8 August 2007). "New logos for BBC Radio - cool or balls?". Organ Grinder Blog. The Guardian. Retrieved 7 February 2012.
  2. "BBC Annual Plan 2022/23" (PDF). BBC. 23 March 2022. Retrieved 3 April 2022.
  3. "BBC Radio 5 Live Sports Extra Service Licence" (PDF). BBC Trust. April 2011. Retrieved 7 February 2012.
  4. "BBC Radio 5 Live Sports Extra Help". BBC. Retrieved 7 February 2012.
  5. "Adrian Van Klaveren, Controller, Radio 5 Live". About the BBC - Inside the BBC. BBC. Retrieved 7 February 2012.
  6. Cooper, Will. "Tony Livesey's guide to the 5 live studios". BBC Radio 5 Live Blog. BBC. Retrieved 6 February 2012.
  7. BBC 5 Live to air Super Bowl XLIX from Arizona. Retrieved 9 January 2015.

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