Former BBC Radio 1 DJ and current Classic FM Breakfast presenter Simon Bates also joined the station along with James Whale and Ian Collins. Talk Radio made their first foray into the world of sports radio rights bidding, by purchasing the rights to broadcast the Nationwide Football League from BBC Radio Five Live for the 1997-1998 season. In addition, the station broadcasts their first World Cup from France in 1998, with them bringing in the top Sky Sports commentary team of Alan Parry and Andy Gray to commentate on the major matches. Talk Radio also picked up the rights to broadcast Manchester United’s matches in the Champions League for the 1998-1999 season, a competition the Red Devils go onto win beating Bayern Munich at the Nou Camp. In November 1998, TalkCo Holdings, whose Chairman and Chief Executive is former Sun Editor Kelvin MacKenzie, purchase Talk Radio from CLT. This leads to a mass clearout of presenters including Nick Abbot, Anna Raeburn, Tommy Boyd and Peter Deeley, with them putting in place a more sports orientated programming schedule, including The Sportszone with Alan Parry, Gary Newbon, Tony Lockwood and Tom Watt. Late 1999, TalkCo who rebrand as The Wireless Group, announce plans to launch Talk Radio as the UK’s first national commercial sports radio station called talkSPORT.
The means the end of most of the remaining talk shows including The Big Boys Breakfast with David Banks and Nick Ferrari. In addition talkSPORT purchases the rights to broadcast Manchester United, Arsenal and Newcastle in the Champions League, the FA Cup, England Internationals, UEFA Cup, England’s Winter Tours to South Africa, Zimbabwe, Pakistan and India, British Lions Tours to South Africa and New Zealand and rights to the Super League, Rugby League World Cup, and World Title Boxing Fights. At Midnight on Monday 17th January 2000, Talk Radio became talkSPORT with the station moving from Oxford Street to a new studio in Hatfield on the South Bank of the River Thames near Waterloo Station. With the advent of a new sports station, this saw the introduction of a dedicated Sports Breakfast show, mid-morning motoring show called The Car Guys and sports programming in the afternoon, drive and evening with a number of new presenters and personalities. A number of presenters and commentators joined talkSPORT and formed part of their programming schedule and coverage team. This included Alan Brazil, Mark Nicholas, Chris Cowdrey, Geoffrey Boycott, Alan Parry, Peter Shilton, Brian Moore, Brough Scott, Tom Watt, Gary Newbon, Ian Darke, MP Tony Banks and Alvin Martin. In the last few years talkSPORT have broadcast coverage of a number of sporting events including Euro 2000, 2002 World Cup, Euro 2004, 2000 Sydney Olympics, 2004 Athens Olympics, England's Winter Tours to India, Pakistan, South Africa and West Indies, The Open Golf Championship, The Ryder Cup, Champions League, Premiership, Carling Cup, FA Cup, British Lions Tours of South Africa and New Zealand, 2003 Rugby World Cup, World Boxing Title Fights, Grand Prix, The Grand National, The Derby and The Cheltenham Festival. This summer talkSPORT is an official broadcaster of the 2006 FIFA World Cup broadcasting live match commentary of all 64 matches in Germany with a commentary team including: Chris Cooper, Nigel Pearson, Jim Proudfoot, Ian Danter, Tim White and Geoff Peters.
Pundits include: Alvin Martin, Rodney Marsh, Gary Stevens, Jason Cundy, Micky Quinn, Ray Houghton and Andy Townsend. In addition, talkSPORT will also have live commentary of The 135th Open Championship between Thursday 20th July until Sunday 23rd July at Royal Liverpool in Hoylake with a commentary team likely to include regulars Robert Lee, Richard Boxall, Rupert Bell and Bob Bubka. Also, talkSPORT will have live commentary of the Twenty20 Cup Finals Day from Trent Bridge in Nottingahm on Saturday 12th August. Read more on Last.fm. User-contributed text is available under the Creative Commons By-SA License; additional terms may apply..
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