BBC staff enjoyed some of the best seats at Wimbledon this year as the broadcaster handed out more than 400 tickets worth £51,000.
Household TV names and six-figure executives from the Beeb, as well as their pals, got seats for this year’s tennis showpiece that ordinary people could only dream of getting.
The public can only nab Wimbledon tickets by getting lucky in a hugely over-subscribed ballot, queuing up overnight or paying for a pricey hospitality package. But as the tournament’s “official broadcaster”, the BBC gets a wedge of tickets, which it dishes out to business contacts as well as select staff.
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Among those handed freebies were reporters, news executives, MPs, members of the House of Lords, sports company bigwigs and comic Lee Mack. BBC officials said it handed out 239 tickets with a face value of £32,890 as part of its business dealings.
The details were revealed in a Freedom of Information Act response from the broadcaster. Leigh Tavaziva, the £400,000 BBC Chief Operating Officer, had prized Centre Court seats to see British stars Emma Raducanu and Andy Murray.
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Labour’s Lord Bassam, who was caught up in an expenses scandal five years ago, was among the Parliamentarians given tickets. Joe Ventre of the TaxPayers’ Alliance, said: “BBC bosses do very well out of these Corporation comps.”
A BBC spokesman said: “These tickets are provided to the BBC as part of the rights contract we have with Wimbledon and there is no cost to the licence fee payer. Parliamentarians are invited as part of a broader visit to see broadcasting facilities and discuss media issues.”
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