Bradford City joint-chairman Mark Lawn has labelled the BBC ‘aloof’ in a final swipe at the broadcaster after they once again snubbed the FA Cup giant-killers.
And he has applauded BT Sport for ‘understanding the spirit of the competition’ after the satellite broadcaster decided to kick-off the quarter-final weekend with the Bantams’ last-eight date with Reading at Valley Parade.
The BBC’s decision to yet again overlook the Bantams for live coverage was confirmed yesterday with the terrestrial channel opting to show the two all-Premier League ties as opposed to those where shocks could occur.
It follows the BBC’s choice not to show Bradford’s fifth-round tie at home to Sunderland on Sunday, despite the Bantams having caused the shock of the previous round in winning at Premier League leaders Chelsea.
That decision backfired dramatically with Phil Parkinson’s Bantams creating more romance with a resounding 2-0 win over Sunderland, in a game that had all the hallmarks of a classic FA Cup tie.
Yet the terrestrial broadcaster has again shunned the League One headline-grabbers by choosing the heavyweight clash between Manchester United and Arsenal – understandably – and Aston Villa versus West Brom at Villa Park.
But this time, Bradford will get to play to a national audience after BT Sport announced that the Reading game will be free for non-subscribers to watch, via its website or its Sky television platform.
The game will be played on Saturday, March 7, with a 12.45pm kick-off and will be screened on BT Sport 1.
“I think BT Sport get it more than the BBC,” said Lawn, whose club stand to make nearly a quarter of a million pounds from the coverage.
“The great British public want to watch the minnows and BT get that.
“And I say bravo to them. That is the spirit of the FA Cup.
“I seriously don’t think the BBC get it, they’re so aloof sat up in their ivory towers that they really don’t understand what it’s all about.
“It’s almost as if they’ve said because they (Bradford) moaned and complained we’re not going to have them on our network.
“It’s as if we’ve dared to question them.
“So bravo to BT Sport. Well done for acting like a public service broadcaster.”
Bradford are currently in talks with Reading about ticket prices, with the Yorkshire club keen to make their quarter-final the most affordable for the paying public.
“There won’t be a cheaper ticket at any other stadium in the quarter-final,” vowed Lawn.
“It’s about keeping football affordable for the people that really want to watch it.
“I think the fans have repaid us for that approach in recent seasons by coming in good numbers.”
City’s appearance in the last eight for the first time in 39 years will mean a welcome windfall of £180,000 in prize money plus the guarantee of another £247,500 in live broadcast fees.
Bradford have already banked £400,000 from beating Chelsea, with a further £100,000 made from Sunday’s sell-out crowd, all ensuring a lucrative journey for the League One club.
Bradford beat Orient: Page 22.