I wonder if you totted up all of the hours that athletics was shown on BBC channels how it would compare with other sports?
Accepting that the beebs coverage isn’t to everyone’s tastes, and it does get downgraded at certain times in the year when a DL event clashes with something else, they do do a fair amount.
It would probably come behind tennis (though in effect only Wimbledon is shown), snooker (fills day time TV with very low production costs), formula 1 and possibly golf (though again only a small handful of tournaments are shown). With very little football licensed to show live (MOTD is a separate issue), live coverage of CWG, Euros, Diamond League, GNR, London Marathon, Worlds, early season indoor meetings / Grand Prix etc they give a fair few hours to athletics over the year.
Perhaps a slightly less favourable picture when all the terrestrial channels are factored in, and less again when Sky / BT come into the equation where football takes over. But still there is a fair amount of time devoted to athletics coverage already.