BBC ALBA – 2023 Sport Multi-annual Production Contract Commissioning Round

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BBC ALBA – 2023 Sport Multi-annual Production Contract Commissioning Round


BBC ALBA is a BBC licensed television service offering a wide range of genres in the Gaelic language.  It is managed in partnership by MG ALBA and the BBC.  

Sports coverage on BBC ALBA is a vital part of the channel’s audience strategy. In addition to offering as complete a service as possible to the Gaelic-speaking audience, it enables a door to be opened to Gaelic for those who would otherwise not experience the language. 

We work collaboratively with other BBC services on our sports strategy to enable the provision of a complementary and aligned sports offering to audiences. 

Audience Strategy Overview

BBC ALBA seeks to serve: 

  • The Gaelic-speaking audience, providing a credible, relevant service for Gaelic speakers and learners
  • Non-Gaelic speakers within the wider population, providing content of interest which acts as a door to Gaelic. 

BBC ALBA’s Sports Strategy

Sport is a key element of BBC ALBA’s audience strategy. BBC ALBA’s distinctive model has developed over a number of years, encompassing the provision of three main sports; football, shinty, and some rugby, with women’s sports coverage central to the strategy. This model has proved successful in growing audiences on linear, iPlayer and social media.   

Sport Multi-annual Production Round 2023

This commissioning round invites submissions from suitably qualified production companies / suppliers interested in agreeing a multi-annual sport production contract for supply to BBC ALBA.  

The sport production contract is of strategic importance to BBC ALBA. The contract will be based on rights agreements, some of which are already in place, some of which are in negotiation, and their associated technical requirements.  Submissions should be on the basis of per annum 134 hrs of minimum 5 camera coverage of football & shinty, 12 hrs of minimum 7 camera coverage of either rugby or football and 30 hrs of broadcast feeds from third parties of various sporting events.   

Over the entire period of the contract prospective suppliers are asked to assume a requirement of, 438 hours of live OB events and 90 hours of broadcast feeds from third parties will be required.  Further information is provided on page 5. 

The production contract will be issued by MG ALBA and will commence in July 2023. Dates of contract (start and end) included in this document are indicative and may change.  The contract will cover a period of 3 years.  Programme delivery will be from July 2023 onwards. 

Criteria for decisions on submissions (with relevant weightings) are set out below: 

30%     Quality, creativity and distinctiveness of submission and editorial fit with BBC ALBA schedule requirements  
30%     Overall price, cost per hour and value for money
20%  Track record in the delivery of live sports programming to a recognised TV broadcaster including technical innovation in live OB production and delivering to BBC technical standards  
10% Proposals for the development of Gaelic-speaking sports production and presentation key talent  
10% Diversity & Inclusion strategy for the delivery of this contract 


E-mail queries can be sent to during week beginning 27 February 2023 and an opportunity to clarify any matters in relation to this commissioning round, including specific sports rights held for BBC ALBA, will be offered on 3 March 2023 when partnership executives will make themselves available for meetings with prospective applicants.  

Questions will be treated as confidential but significant themes may be shared by way of FAQs (Frequently Asked Questions) on MG ALBA’s commissioning webpages, by 10 March 2023, subject always to commercial sensitivity.    

If you would like to set up a meeting or if you have questions regarding any aspect of this commissioning round, please e-mail 

Programme Supply

Sports production will be based on live broadcast of fixtures with in-stadia presentation, and half-time feature packages. Broadcast slots depend on match scheduling and rights obtained for BBC ALBA. Timing of fixtures may necessitate simultaneous OB provision from a number of distinct sites. Collaborative working with BBC Radio nan Gàidheal and BBC Scotland broadcast services is anticipated. 

On price, we anticipate a competitive but comprehensive package covering all production elements, including graphics.   

We reserve the right to amend the scope of this production contract to meet affordability constraints, if necessary, in discussion with the preferred supplier. 

We reserve the right not to award any contract as a result of this commissioning round process. 

The Submission

The submission should include: 

1. An editorial outline based on the delivery of live and third-party feed sport event coverage demonstrating how innovative, high production and editorial values will be achieved, maintained and developed over the life of the contract.  
2. A creative summary for all the hours of programming, including an innovative approach to half-time packages and the creative approach for graphics. 
3. Technical Specification, including resilience of delivery method. 
4. A distinct plan to deliver the content required to promote the fixtures on social media including pre-match, live in-game and post-match updates. 
5. Plans for a diverse pool of key talent for presentation and for diversity behind the camera, including talent development initiatives, use of Diamond Diversity recording tool, the production company’s plans to enable representation from B.A.M.E. communities, those with lived experience of disability, and people from socio-economic diverse backgrounds both now and over the course of the contract. 
6. A price showing detailed production and delivery costs and cost per hour breakdown. 
7. Delivery Plan including plans for sustainable production using Albert calculator and certification and key production staff training. 


The deadline for submissions is 1pm on Friday 17 March 2023 and the expected date for MG ALBA/BBC partnership decision is Friday 31 March 2023. 

All submissions must be made electronically to before the deadline. A receipt will be generated automatically. Submissions received after this deadline will not be considered and it is incumbent on the production company to ensure that delivery has been effected.  

The opportunity to discuss and develop these submissions may be given through interviews with applicants once the commissioning round has closed. It is anticipated that these meetings will be scheduled for 23 or 24 March 2023.  

An indicative timescale for the overall commissioning process is enclosed.  This is subject to change and prospective suppliers will be notified of any changes. 


16 February 2023 – Publication of Commissioning Round 
3 March 2023 – Opportunity for meeting BBC ALBA partnership executives 
1pm, 17 March 2023 – Deadline for receipt of submissions 
17-22 March 2023 – Evaluation of submissions 
23 & 24 March 2023 – Further or pitch meetings 
31 March 2023 – Preferred supplier selection  
30 April 2023 – Due diligence / Contract award * 



*Should the contract not be awarded to the preferred supplier we will undertake due diligence on the proposal in second place.  


Prospective suppliers responding to this commissioning round are asked to satisfy themselves as to the application of TUPE and to take account of the potential impact of TUPE in any submission they wish to make to this commissioning round. 

Freedom of Information Act

Prospective suppliers should be aware that, under an FOIA request, MG ALBA, as a public body, may be required to disclose information contained in submissions or future contractual information. Following a request, MG ALBA may take the views of bidders into account when making a decision on what information will be disclosed.  

Submission Basis for Programme Supply


Five camera or more Sports OB production and associated other production, primarily of Scottish football and shinty 

First broadcast slot: Mainly weekends

Format: Approximately 2 hours duration each

Audience: Scotland-wide

Duration of supply contract: July 2023 to June 2026

Projected event basis: 67 live matches per year

Hours to supply: 134 hrs per year; 402 hrs in total

Seven camera or more Sports OB production and associated other production 

First broadcast slot: Mainly weekends

Format: Approximately 2 hours duration each

Audience: Scotland-wide

Duration of supply contract: July 2023 to June 2026

Projected event basis: 6 live matches per year

Hours to supply: 12 hrs per year; 36 hrs in total

Broadcast feed from third party Sports OB production and associated other production, primarily of Scottish rugby, football and shinty 

First broadcast slot: Mainly weekends

Format: Approximately 2 hours duration each

Audience: Scotland-wide

Duration of supply contract: July 2023 to June 2026

Projected event basis: 15 events per year

Hours to supply:  30 hrs per year; 90 hrs in total


Frequently Asked Questions

When will SPFL men’s football matches be scheduled?

We are working on the basis that this will be a Saturday evening for league matches.


Would you expect proposals regarding the coverage of new sports?

We acknowledge there is a wealth of talent in Scotland taking part in a range of sports but our focus is currently on football (men’s and women’s), shinty and rugby. In terms of what we might consider if we needed additional output we would require a degree of distinctiveness for BBC ALBA. If there’s a requirement to add additional sports to the current roster we would be open to discussion.


What are the expectations regarding digital outputs?

We would expect a production team member to be on shift during live games so that in-game clips can be produced and edited. Because the commentary is in Gaelic, this helps us to be more inclusive for those who may not watch the coverage with Gaelic commentary. We are multi-platform and digital coverage is just as important as linear.


What social platforms are you on and are there any rights restrictions?

We are on Facebook, Twitter, Instagram – we find that Twitter is most responsive for Sport.  All accounts are under a BBC ALBA brand. We expect production to manage the feed during and around the live event. According to the sports body that the rights have been acquired from, there may be restrictions on platform and uses we can undertake.


How do you propose to promote men’s league football?

We work with BBC colleagues to arrange cross-promotion on BBC platforms. The results we’ve had from previous cross-platform campaigns has had a massive impact on figures and there would be a need for the production team to facilitate demands around this marketing effort.


Will pitch meetings be taking place?

We hope to meet any prospective bidders on the morning of Thursday 23rd March at BBC Pacific Quay, Glasgow. We would prefer that these be in-person meetings but virtual arrangements can be put in place if this is not possible.


Is it still the case that sports programming on BBC ALBA must be recorded in HD and broadcast in SD?

BBC ALBA is now broadcasting in HD and all recording must be in HD.


Should training and development opportunities be included in proposals?

Yes, training and development is important and company policy towards the development of Gaelic-speaking sports production and presentation talent is one of the criteria on which submissions will be assessed.


Will TUPE legislation apply?

TUPE discussions would take place between the incoming/outgoing suppliers and may or may not apply. It would be best to factor it into a bid but to be clear about the assumptions you are basing your proposal on.


When would the new contract start?

We anticipate the new contact will start on 1 July 2023.


Do you require programme bids to include costings for red button language options on your sports programming?

No, there is no requirement to factor costs regarding red button into proposals, although the production set up for red button may be requested on occasion.


How often are consecutive OBs required within the same week?

There is likely to be a requirement to facilitate and broadcast from sporting events on consequent days particularly when the rugby and football or football and shinty seasons overlap. This could be in the region of 20 weeks per season. Occasionally there may be two different sports fixtures on the same day. This could occur around 5 weeks in a season.


What digital rights are held?

Rights tend to be held for broadcast use only and BBC iPlayer, with some digital rights for promotional purposes.


Is there a guide price?

There is no guide price specified in this commissioning round.


Are new graphics expected from the production company?

Yes, this will be expected from the production company as part of the production contract.


Are you open to the use of new technologies?

We have referenced that we are open to companies coming with new ideas.