Bad News: ITV want the Premier League highlights back
THERE’S nothing quite as morbid and depressing as watching football coverage on ITV. In Adrian Chiles, you have a man who looks like pudding doing an impression of. the. slow. concentration. of. Tim. Love. Joy. and in Andy Townsend, you have a man paid huge sums to point out things that have happened in play, a full 5 seconds after the viewers at home have already noticed.
Then there’s Clive Tyldesley, who can’t be arsed learning the names of foreign played (notably, James Rodriguez) and who is in possession of a faux-grandiosity that is as irritating as it is insincere.
So, the bad news is that ITV are hoping to steal the Premier League highlights from the BBC and Match of the Day. You can almost hear U2’s ‘Beautiful Day’ striking up and Matt Smith blankly looking into camera.
And will we be forced to endure the ‘Tactics Truck’ again?
Of course, there’s a whole load of plot twists with English football rights this week, with Virgin complaining to watchdogs that the current bidding system is against trading standards and that fans are getting ripped off, as English football fans pay the most of the least amount of football coverage.
Sky and BT Sport will be locking horns over the rights to broadcast live Premier League games, and invariably won’t be affected by the announcement that Ofcom are going to be investigating everything around EPL coverage.
For an idea of what’s going on, the BBC paid £60m per year to have the rights to show the highlights of the weekend’s football, and that runs out at the end of the season. In addition to the bidding war between Sky and BT, the Premier League’s income from its domestic rights was a whopping £3bn.
If ITV get the highlights, are they going to offer something that matches up to Match of the Day, and the spin-off shows such as Match of the Day 2 and Match of the Day Kickabout? In Dan Walker, the BBC have found the perfect football anchor, who doesn’t mind a joke, but is straight laced enough to avoid truly irritating anyone. ITV, you feel, wouldn’t be able to recruit anyone without hiring someone fantastically divisive. You also feel that ITV wouldn’t be able to maintain the high figures that the BBC are currently showing.
However, ITV will have some money to spend as, from next season, they won’t be showing live Champions League football after BT Sport forked out £897m on an exclusive deal with UEFA.
The BBC also have a deal with BT Sport to show live FA Cup matches, leaving ITV looking with a big footballing hole. Will they do a smash and grab on Match of the Day?
You can only hope not.