The Department for Culture, Media and Sport has published a consultation paper in respect of the list of events which must be shown on free-to-air television.

A listed event is described by the Department for Culture, Media and Sport as one which "is generally felt to have special national resonance" and has "an element which serves to unite the nation, a shared point on the national calendar, not solely of interest to those who follow the sport in question."

The first list was published in 1956.

An Independent Advisory Panel chaired by David Davies (former Executive Director of the Football Association) published its review of the free-to-air listed events in November 2009. That review recommended that:

  • The current system of two lists (whereby certain events must be shown live on free-to-air coverage available to 95% of the UK population and other events must have some form of secondary highlights coverage on free-to-air) be replaced by one list of events of national resonance.
  • The list of protected events is reviewed more frequently.
  • In deciding whether to list an event, the costs and benefits to the sports concerned must be considered.

The recommended list of protected events comprises 12 events, including the Summer Olympics, Home Ashes Test matches, the Grand National, Wimbledon and The Open Golf Championship.

Responses to the consultation are invited by 5 March 2010.