A no-strings attached gift to the BBC?
That’s what BBC Sport’s sponsors are hoping for after receiving a £3.2m donation from Google to the broadcaster.
The BBC Sport Foundation, which helps promote sport and charity across the BBC, is donating a portion of the donation to support research into the impact of global warming on the environment.
Google CEO Eric Schmidt also gave £1m to the foundation in 2015.
The foundation’s president and chief executive, Sir Michael Marmot, said: “We are thrilled to support the BBC and its global ambition of bringing more people together through its global coverage of sports and culture.”
Google’s donation came as the BBC faced a backlash after a documentary was broadcast in Britain about the plight of those who have died as a result of the warming caused by the burning of fossil fuels.
Google has also been criticised for its support of a number of environmental causes, including an investigation into the global food crisis, which prompted the resignation of its chief scientific adviser in March.
BBC Sport, which is owned by the BBC Trust, said it was happy to give its sponsors a piece of the pie, as long as they did so without causing any conflict of interest.
“We’ve seen that the sponsorship of our content is an important part of the BBC’s reputation as an independent, trusted news organisation, so it’s always been our aim to support this vital, important mission of the corporation,” a BBC spokesman said.
“Our donation is a part of that ambition, but we have no further comment on the subject.”
Google said it “appreciates the BBC for its ongoing support to sport and to the wider global community”.
Google is not the only company that has donated to the organisation.
The National Audit Office, which has a mandate to scrutinise government spending, said last year that it found “no evidence” of any conflict between the BBCs sponsorship of sports programmes and its support for research into climate change.
It added: “It is important to note that we did not find any evidence of a conflict between this sponsorship and the BBC ‘s overall sponsorship of sport and culture”.