Belfast Telegraph

IFA strategy expert Neil Brittain lands role as BBC NI's first executive editor of sport

Neil Brittain
Neil Brittain
Claire McNeilly

By Claire McNeilly

A communications and strategy expert with a sporting background has been chosen as BBC Northern Ireland's first executive editor of sport.

Neil Brittain will join the broadcaster in three months from the Irish Football Association (IFA), where he is currently director of communications and strategy.

The new role will see him sign up with BBC Northern Ireland's in-house content production team to provide editorial leadership and vision for all the division's work across television, radio and digital.

As executive editor of BBC Sport, he will report to his new employer's head of content production, Eddie Doyle, and will be responsible for delivering value for money and ensuring that local audiences get the best coverage.

Mr Brittain, who was head of communications at the IFA for two years before assuming his current role, said that he was thrilled with his new job at the corporation.

"The BBC is unmatched in the coverage it provides to sport in Northern Ireland," he added.

"I am therefore delighted to be joining the team and I look forward to helping to develop new and innovative content that reflects the changing demands of audiences across TV, radio and online."

His boss-to-be, Mr Doyle, said the Queen's University Belfast English graduate had a lot to offer the team at Broadcasting House on Ormeau Avenue in the city centre.

"Neil brings a wealth of experience to this role," the head of content production explained.

"He has creative energy, a strategic mind and a genuine passion for sport.

"He will bring enthusiasm and vision to BBC Sport Northern Ireland teams and will lead the way in bringing the best sporting coverage to our audience."

Prior to his role in the IFA, Mr Brittain managed communications at Ulster Rugby from 2012 to 2015.

A former correspondent on UTV, he has reported on many major global sporting events.

These have included the Rugby World Cup, the Cricket World Cup, the Six Nations, the Fifa World Cup qualifiers and the Ulster GAA Senior Football Championship.

He also spent two years of his career as a senior accounts manager at Smarts Communicate, a PR company based in Holywood, Co Down.

Mr Brittain will take up his new position with the BBC in August.

The soon-to-be executive editor announced the move on social media yesterday.

He told his followers on Twitter: "Delighted to be taking up this role and to be joining the fantastic team."

Among the many people to offer their congratulations was sports journalist and U105 radio DJ Denise Watson.

Before joining UTV as a reporter in 2003, Mr Brittain studied for a Postgraduate Diploma in Newspaper Journalism at the University of Ulster.

In July 2010, he cycled from Bexleyheath in England to Paris with 81 other cyclists to raise money and awareness for the Christian Aid charity.

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