Talk Radio has become the first UK commercial radio station to win the rights to broadcast live commentary of the 1998 World Cup.
The winning of the licence breaks the exclusive hold that the BBC had on the competition.
Talk Radio has targeted football over the past year. It has secured live coverage of the Nationwide Football League and has tried to secure Premier League rights. It also had broadcast rights to last summer’s Le Tournoi competition between England, Brazil, Italy and France.
Talk Radio was the only national commercial radio station to see a rise, although a small one, in its Radio Joint Audience Research (Rajar) results for the third quarter of this year. It rose from 1.8 to two per cent.
Talk Radio sales controller Tim Bleakley says: “This endorses Talk Radio as number one for live football commentary.”
The broadcaster will invite sponsorship for its coverage. According to FIFA rules this must be offered first to one of the 12 official sponsors. Last month, General Motors 4m Vauxhall bid beat Anheuser-Busch’s Budweiser to become ITV’s World Cup sponsor.