Belfast Telegraph

Tuesday 23 December 2014

Humphrey to quit BBC for BT role

Jake Humphrey is moving to present BT's football coverage
Jake Humphrey is moving to present BT's football coverage

Jake Humphrey is quitting as the face of Formula 1 at the BBC to lead BT's Premier League football coverage.

The 33-year-old, who was part of the BBC's team covering the European Championships, has signed a four-year deal with BT which will see him appear on its new sports channel from January.

Jake's move will be a blow to the BBC which has already scaled back its F1 coverage, after losing the exclusive rights and instead sharing them with Sky.

BT said he will host its live coverage of 38 Premier League games and "other football programming".

Jake will continue to front F1 racing until his contract runs out at the end of the year. A spokeswoman for BBC Sport said: "Jake is under contract with the BBC until the end of 2012 so will continue to present F1 until the end of the season."

Jake, who is also the host of the BBC Three debate series Free Speech, began working at the Corporation on children's shows such as Newsround and Sportsround. He said: "I am incredibly excited to be joining the team at BT not just because I get to fulfil a life-long dream of presenting the Barclays Premier League but because of the fresh perspective that BT will bring to both sport and broadcasting in this country. To be a part of this young, vibrant team, who are as passionate about sport as I am, is a privilege.

"I've grown up at the BBC, and whilst I hope to work with them in the future, I'd also like to place on record my thanks to them. I am incredibly grateful to all colleagues, and of course the viewers, for their incredible support from CBBC all the way to Formula 1. My focus from the start of 2013 is on making BT's coverage of football the best this country has ever seen."

BT Vision chief executive Marc Watson said Jake is "a tremendously experienced and popular sports broadcaster and a fresh, young and innovative talent".

Jake was reported to be upset at the loss of much of the Corporation's Formula 1 coverage, but last year he told Chris Moyles the BBC had "no option" but to accept the deal. He said: "I guess it's a money thing. Yes it will be a money thing which is what this whole situation is about. I don't want people to say, 'Why did the BBC give up on F1?'

"They basically had no option. The amount of money the BBC have now is not what they had to spend a few years ago."

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