With more than 3,000 hours of live sporting action from Rio this summer, TV Licensing is reminding community groups and charities in Northern Ireland to check they are correctly licensed to share the spectacular sporting TV coverage as it happens.
Considerable numbers of community groups, sporting and social clubs are expected to host viewing events and parties, where they are set to enjoy landmark Olympic moments at community groups and centres across Northern Ireland.
BBC One’s coverage kicks off featuring the Opening Ceremony on 5 August, with live action each day from 1pm to 4am until the Closing Ceremony on 21 August. On BBC Four, live action will be available every day from 1pm to 4am
TV Licensing has produced a Guide for Community Groups, which answers common questions asked by groups and includes information about holding one-off live viewing events and refunds.
Karen Grimason, spokesperson for TV Licensing said: “Community groups will need to buy a TV Licence if they plan to watch the coverage live but can claim a refund for any unused quarters if they only need a licence for this one-off sporting event.
“Social and community group managers have been prosecuted in Magistrates’ courts in the past year. We would always rather people pay for their TV Licence than risk an embarrassing prosecution and fine of up to £1,000.”
Olympic Gold Medallist, Dame Mary Peters, said: “I know that the Olympics will be hugely popular and are sure to be celebrated widely and enthusiastically across the country, so any group or charity that’s planning an event with live viewing must make sure they are prepared.”
If a space at a local community centre is rented out to a group, then it is the responsibility of the centre owner or manager, who gives permission for the group to watch a TV on the site, to make sure the centre is correctly licensed. If the property is owned or managed by a community group, then responsibility lies with the group to make sure they are watching legally.
TV Licensing enquiry officers will be visiting unlicensed clubs, sports halls and community centres throughout the summer. Any group found watching TV illegally risks a court prosecution and fine of up to £1,000 per offence, plus costs.
Last year TV Licensing enquiry officers visited more than 30,000 unlicensed businesses across the UK, ranging from takeaway restaurants and holiday parks to garages, hair salons and sports clubs, to ensure they were correctly licensed.
Ethnic minority community organisations, or those with members who speak English as a second language, can download information in more than 16 languages from the TV Licensing website