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Ken BatesKen Bates has come out in defence of his decision to give exclusive broadcast rights to Yorkshire Radio – effectionately dubbed, ‘Radio Bates’ by many Leeds United supporters.

Last week Ken announced that BBC Radio Leeds would no longer be airing Leeds United match day commentary, and the only way to now hear Leeds United games is on Yorkshire Radio. Many fans who have for years relied on BBC Radio Leeds to keep up with Leeds United matches have been outraged by the decision, which see’s exclusive rights given to the Yorkshire Radio company Ken Bates set up back in 2006.

Bates openly admitted the move was made to make more money, although he didn’t reveal any figures. He told the Yorkshire Post “The fact of the matter is we did not think the BBC’s offer, which came after the deadline anyway, was acceptable. Times have changed since I first became involved in negotiations on behalf of the Football League in 1986 when the BBC paid £35,000 per year to cover the game nationally. Back then, there was little competition with commercial radio stations only just starting.”

He also added that the digital station has a potential catchment area of 6,000,000 – far more than it’s FM counterpart – and that fans could pick up a digital radio for around £15.

The more sceptical amongst us may argue that this move has been taken in a vain hope of increasing subscriptions to Leeds United’s online LUTV service, which is currently the only way to hear matchday commentary worldwide. Yorkshire Radio’s online service is closed during matches meaning Leeds fans that don’t have access to a digital radio have no choice but to subscribe.

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