ITV Sport

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ITV Sport
Sports coverage
Genre Sport
Predecessor Granada Sport;
Carlton Sport;
ISN (London News Network)
Founded 1985 (1985)
Founder ITV Network
Headquarters London, England
Area served
United Kingdom
Key people
Michael Jermey
(ITV director of sport);
Niall Sloane
Owner ITV plc
Parent ITV Studios

ITV Sport is a sport producer and brand name owned by ITV plc, covering all sporting programming produced by ITV. Adrian Chiles was chief presenter for ITV Sport from 2010 until being dropped in 2015 and being replaced by Mark Pougatch.


ITV Sport was created as an umbrella brand for sports programmes on ITV Network, No programmes were actually produced by ITV Sport during this time, but rather the 15 ITV companies each produced sport show for the umbrella brand, such as World of Sport by LWT and Thames. Central also played a significant part in networked sports output under the leadership of Gary Newbon. The station produced nearly all of ITV's football coverage during the 1990s - including the FA Cup, UEFA Champions' League, the FIFA World Cup in 1994, 1998 & 2002, UEFA European Championship 1996, 2000 & 2004 and Premier League highlights.


In 2004, Granada and Carlton merged, creating a single company for all ITV franchises in England and Wales.[1] One of the consequences of the merger was (according to the company) an over-capacity of studio facilities and production units around the country, which had previously been rivals, but were now all part of the same group. In order to make cost savings, several large regional headquarters, studio sites and programme departments closed and merged. Thus current ITV sports department was formed from the amalgamation of Granada Sport, Carlton's (previously Central's) sports department and ISN, the sports division of London News Network. The company produces Champions League and FA Cup Football, along with coverage of England's national team. ITV Sport also shows live coverage of the British Touring Car Championship and the Tour De France.

ITV Sport programmes are broadcast on its main channel (the ITV Network) although outside of football the only sports shown live on the ITV Network (ITV, STV and UTV) are the Rugby World Cup and French Open Tennis as all other live coverage is shown on ITV4. ITV Sport's main rivals are BBC Sport, Sky Sports and BT Sport. Most events air in high definition. The controller of ITV Sport is Niall Sloane, who reports to ITV's director of news, current affairs and sport Michael Jermey.

Former Sport channel[edit]

Main article: ITV Sport Channel
Channel's logo

ITV used to have a dedicated sports channel on the ITV Digital network, originally broadcasting UEFA Champions League football and ATP Masters Series tennis under the brand ONsport. It was then renamed as the ITV Sport Channel and was responsible for the service's downfall, due to offering unrealistic amounts for the rights to broadcast matches from The Football League, almost bankrupting many league clubs in the process after ITV reneged on its promised payments to clubs. Lasting for just one football season; the ITV Sport Channel launched on Saturday 11 August 2001 with Man City v Watford in the First Division, and closed on Saturday 12 May 2002 with the Division 2 Play Off Final between Brentford and Stoke.[2] There were two spinoff channels, ITV Sport Plus and ITV Sport Select, the latter used to show the on-demand Premier League football matches from Sky Sports. Whilst football was the mainstay of the channel, it showed the ATP Masters Series, British basketball and European Cup rugby union. Previously to the ITV Digital rebrand, the ITV Sport bouquet included ONsport 1 and ONsport 2, which were subject to rebrands themselves after ITV bought up the rights to the tennis Masters Series. Before then, the channel had been branded as Champions on 28, and Champions on 99.


Current ITV Sport coverage[edit]


ITV holds joint rights for the 2014 FIFA World Cups, along with the BBC. The network broadcasts football from a range of competitions throughout the football season, with live coverage of one match each Tuesday from the UEFA Champions League. They have shared the rights with Sky Sports since 2003, having televised the competition exclusively prior to that. ITV gets first choice of Tuesday matches, and airs preview and highlights programmes for these matches. Both networks broadcast the final live. ITV has the rights for the UEFA Europa League having so since 2005. In November 2013 ITV were dealt a huge blow when it was announced that BT Sport had won exclusive coverage of the UEFA Champions League & UEFA Europa League from 2015-2016 season, they had a bid accepted close to 1 billion pounds however they managed to keep hold of highlights for both competitions, as a result ITV lost all their domestic football coverage from the 2015 season with FA Cup also reverting to BBC and ITV. Therefore ITV have gone from the home of free to air football with live FA Cup, Champions League, Europa League to just having England matches on ITV as well as other friendly internationals and qualifiers and African Cup of Nations on ITV4. BBC & ITV have a deal to cover the World Cup up to 2022 and cover the next European Championship from France in 2016.

England coverage includes all home and away games both friendlies and qualifiers which they got in 2008 in a joint bid with Setanta with ITV covering Home Qualifiers and Away Friendlies while Setanta took Home friendlies and Away Qualifiers. After the dismise of Setanta ITV show all England matches and will do until the 2018 FIFA World Cup

ITV have shown every World Cup live since 1966, and numerous European Championships. ITV's most significant football moments include the World Cup Final of 1966. Whilst most of nation tuned onto the BBC for live coverage of the final between England and West Germany, ITV broadcast the event as well, with commentator Hugh Johns describing the winning England goal by Geoff Hurst in extra time. ITV had live and exclusive coverage of the World Cup 98 second round match between England and Argentina, which Argentina won on penalties. The broadcast, presented by Bob Wilson, got almost 25 million viewers, a record audience for a football match solely on ITV.

Other moments include the Champions League Final of 1999, when Manchester United won it in the dying seconds of the match. The final achieved an audience peaking at around 17 million viewers, but ITV came under fire from Manchester United supporters, as they cut to adverts instead of showing the players celebrating. Ironically German TV channel RTL Television, kept the coverage running which like ITV uses UEFA's live feed. The Champions League Final of 2005 was also won by an English club, and live on ITV. Liverpool beat AC Milan on penalties, with a peak audience of around 15 million tuning in to ITV's coverage. Around 12.5 million tuned in to see Arsenal play Barcelona in the 2006 UEFA Champions League Final, despite the English side losing in the dying minutes of the match. The all English final of the UEFA Champions League between Manchester United and Chelsea in 2008 generated an average of 16 million, gaining a peak of 17.5 million for the penalty shootout finale.

ITV has a long-standing association with European club football, broadcasting the UEFA Champions League every year since its inception in 1992. The broadcaster has held the rights exclusively from 1992 to 2003, before having shared it with Sky Sports since 2003. From 1997, ITV began the habit of broadcasting additional matches from the competition, at first showing one extra match per week on either the Granada Plus or Carlton Select cable channels before, following the launch of On Digital, it showed every key match through special bespoke channels Champions on 28 and Champions on 99, later ONsport 1 and ONsport 2, as well as on ITV2. This practice continued until 2009, when ITV reduced its output to just one live match per set in the competition. From 2015, ITV will cease showing live coverage of the UEFA Champions League and UEFA Europa League and revert to simply showing highlights of both competitions every week, due to the exclusive deal signed by BT Sport.

ITV's highest World Cup ratings of 2006 was its live coverage of England versus Sweden, in the group stages, and it achieved a peak audience of 21 million, its highest audience since the England versus Argentina match at World Cup '98.[3]

ITV broadcast the African Cup of Nations 2012, with highlights of all games, and one game per round including the Final. In 2013 they broadcast all matches live. In 2015 they showed nightly highlights at 10pm with coverage of 7 matches live, therefore coverage of a final match in each group and live coverage of the semi finals and final. Matt Smith or Jacqui Oatley host the coverage alongside pundits which include Fabrice Muamba, Quinton Fortune, Sone Aluko, Sebastian Bassong, Peter Odemwingie and former Sierra Leone coach (from Northern Ireland) Jonny McKinstry. Commentary for highlights and live matches come from Clive Tyldesley, Sam Matterface, Joe Speight, Jon Champion, Nigel Adderley and David Stowell. While for live matches co-commentary comes from Andy Townsend or Efan Ekoku.

ITV football presenters[edit]

Between 2010-2014 ITV's main football host was Adrian Chiles, who joined the channel following his departure from the BBC. He presented the network's coverage of Champions League, FA Cup, and England Internationals. Other ITV football presenters include Matt Smith. Smith presents Champions League highlights, Europa League matches and African Cup Of Nations matches. In 2014, Chiles faced a huge salary slash and will now only host football coverage but in January 2015 it emerged that Adrian Chiles has been released by ITV by immediate effect and replaced by Mark Pougatch, Pougatch will host the rest of ITV live coverage of the Champions League starting with Chelsea v PSG in February 2015 and England Internationals while remaining with BBC Radio 5 Live on Saturday Afternoons for their coverage of the Premier League & FA Cup.[4] Matt Smith is also leaving ITV at the end of the 2014-15 season as his and Andy Townsend contracts were not renewed however it is unsure whether Smith could still work for ITV as a freelance presenter on Darts or Cricket Coverage.[5]


ITV's commentator is Clive Tyldesley. Tyldesley covers ITV's big games from the Champions League and Europa League as well as England internationals. Other freelance commentators such as Sam Matterface, Jon Champion and Joe Speight are also used during World Cups and European Championships as well as on Europa League Matches. In addition to these at the 2014 World Cup ITV also broadcast some live games with commentary offtube from London with Ali Mann and Arlo White commentating. ITV's main co-commentator is Andy Townsend. Other co-commentators include Clarke Carlisle. Townsend is leaving ITV at the end of the 2014-15 season instead working for the Premier League World Feed as ITV coverage of live football is greatly reduced as the Champions League & Europa League is exclusively live on BT Sport with only highlights available to ITV, ITV only regular live football throughout the season will be coverage of England Internationals on ITV and other qualifiers on ITV4 outside of World Cup and Euros.[5]


Lee Dixon is the lead ITV pundit having moved from the BBC in 2012. Glenn Hoddle is used as a pundit for England matches. Additional pundits are used when and if they are needed such as Gordon Strachan, Ian Wright, Gus Poyet and Martin O'Neill. Paul Scholes also joined ITV as a pundit for the 2014–15 Champions League. Gabriel Clarke is ITV Sport's main reporter, and is therefore based in the England camp at international tournaments. Ned Boulting is regularly used for other matches. Freelance reporters such as Dave Beckett, Richard Henwood, Tom Skippings, Jed Pitman, Chris Hall, Gareth Owen, Roger Tames and Trevor Harris are among those to have featured on ITV's football coverage.


The British Touring Car Championship is another series ITV won away from the BBC, doing so in 2002. Coverage was initially hosted by Vicki Butler-Henderson and Ben Edwards, with Edwards joined in the commentary box by various guest colour commentators during the 2002 season. These included Will Hoy, Chris Goodwin and Kelvin Burt. Tim Harvey was introduced as a permanent co-commentator for the 2003 season and has only missed one programme since. In 2004, ITV introduced live coverage of the British Touring Car Championship for the first time on network television. Previously the BBC had shown occasional races live, but not to this extent. All meetings have been broadcast live by ITV Sport since. Angus Scott joined as a second presenter for the 2006 season, but both he and Vicki Butler-Henderson were replaced for 2007 by Louise Goodman and Ted Kravitz. Kravitz took up the role as lead host for 2008 although Steve Rider and Jane Omorogbe were known to cover. The races are now shown live on ITV4 and highlights are shown on ITV1 on Tuesday early morning on the corresponding weekend. 2009 saw Steve Rider anchor coverage, with Louise Goodman doing the pitlane reports (as she did on the F1 Coverage) and Ben Edwards commentating. Toby Moody replaced Edwards for the 2012 season as Edwards joined BBC F1 however he left at the end of the season to commentate on MotoGP so he was replaced by David Addison for 2013.

The support races to the BTCC are broadcast by ITV Sport in a separate programme called Motorsport UK, typically shown in the channel's early morning schedules. This also launched in 2002, when it featured the Porsche Cup, Clio Cup, Formula Ford and Formula Renault championships. It was presented in the first year by Rachel Whatley with commentary from Richard John Neil. Diana Binks was used as a reporter, before she took over as presenter for the 2003 season, remaining until the end of 2005. Fran Robinson presented in 2006, while Louise Goodman took over in 2007. Ben Edwards was commentator in 2004. In 2005, he was joined by Simon Hill as co-commentator. For the 2006 and 2007 seasons the commentators were John Hindhaugh and Simon Hill. The SEAT Cupra Championship and Formula BMW UK were added to the series covered by Motorsport UK in 2004, replacing Formula Ford. The Porsche Carrera Cup was not shown in 2003 or 2004, but had its own programming on Channel 4. It returned to Motorsport UK in 2005. John Hindaugh was then lead commentator for a while and then Richard John Neil returned as lead commentator with Ben Edwards again in 2010.

In 2006, ITV broadcast the British round of the World Touring Car Championship from Brands Hatch and well as the World Superbike Championship meeting at the same venue.

In 2004, ITV broadcast a brand new magazine show for motorsport fans called Speed Sunday. The show was mainly presented by Matt Smith and Vicki Butler-Henderson. Other presenters included Lee McKenzie, Angus Scott and Jason Plato. It include a mix of news and features from the world of motorsport, in front of a live studio audience, for 1 hour on Sunday afternoons, on alternate weekends to F1. Special programmes included live coverage of the Le Mans 24 Hours and the BTCC Masters race. Whilst the concept of the show was appreciated by motorsport fans, the programme struggled ratings wise and the budget was tight, meaning that the shows were cut 45 minutes and filmed on location instead of the studio. The show was axed at the end of the season.

ITV used to broadcast the World Rally Championship between 2004 and 2007, the rights to which it picked up from Channel 4 (who, in turn, had picked them up from the BBC in 2001). Coverage was hosted by Angus Scott, with Jon Desborough (of Sky News) and Robbie Head in 2004 and 2005. However as a cost cutting measure, ITV decided in 2006 to take the international WRC programmes produced by ISC, therefore removing the ITV presenters. For the 2007 season, coverage was moved away from the main ITV channel onto the digital channel ITV4, available only via Freeview or satellite. Subsequently, Angus Scott left ITV to join Setanta Sports, and Jon Desborough returned to present sports round-ups on Sky News. The rights to the WRC for 2008 were poached from ITV by Dave. In 2013, ITV re-acquired the rights, showing highlights alongside Motors TV and BT Sport.

In 2006, ITV replaced Channel 4 as the terrestrial broadcaster of the British Superbike Championship, increasing both the quantity and quality of the coverage. Channel 4 had previously shown highlights early in the morning a week after the event. ITV started with live coverage of most rounds, although some Bank Holiday Monday races were shown as highlights. Angus Scott and Jane Omorogbe were the presenters in 2006. Scott was replaced by James Cracknell for 2007. Barry Nutley and James Whitham were the commentators in 2006. Nutley was replaced by Jack Burnicle for 2007. However, ITV decided to pull out of this event and British Eurosport took over live coverage with Channel 4 signing a deal for highlights. ITV regained the rights for highlights from 2009 onwards. In 2011, coverage was presented by James Haydon while commentary (shared with Eurosport) came from Jack Burnicle and James Whitham. Burnicle and Whitham were replaced by Toby Moody and Niall Mackenzie for 2014.

In 2014, ITV acquired the rights to show MotoGP highlights with commentary by Keith Huewen and Julian Ryder, with Gavin Emmett as presenter and pit-lane reporter. It is produced by BT Sport.

Rugby Union[edit]

The network has broadcast every Rugby World Cup live since 1991, being host broadcaster in 1991 and 1999. The only tournament that ITV has not shown has been the inaugural tournament held in 1987.

In 2003, England finally triumphed in the final against Australia, at the Telstra Stadium in Sydney. ITV broadcast the event live, with a peak audience of around 12-14 million viewers, a record for any rugby match broadcast to a UK audience (and almost certainly a record audience figure for the time of day - around 9am UK time). The action was anchored by Jim Rosenthal, Angus Scott and Gabby Logan with pundits including Francois Pienaar and Will Carling. Commentary for the final was as ever done by John Taylor & Steve Smith.

ITV held joint UK rights to the 2007 Rugby World Cup along with S4C. Jim Rosenthal and Martin Bayfield were the main studio presenters for the 2007 World Cup in France, although they hosted some coverage from a studio in London. Sky Sports commentators Miles Harrison and Stuart Barnes were 'loaned' out to ITV for the duration of the tournament and teamed up for major matches, including the final. Other commentators/pundits for this tournament included Bob Symonds, John Taylor, Jon Champion, Will Greenwood, Martin Johnson, Kenny Logan, Paul Wallace, Murray Mexted & Sean Fitzpatrick

The 2011 Rugby World Cup was presented by Steve Rider and Craig Doyle. Studio analysts came from Michael Lynagh, Sean Fitzpatrick, Francois Pienaar, Lawrence Dallaglio, Girvan Dempsey and Gareth Thomas as well as injured players Danny Care and Thom Evans. Commentators were Nick Mullins, Martin Gillingham, Simon Ward and Bob Symonds. Co-commentators were Phil Vickery, Andy Gomarsall, Alan Quinlan, Scott Hastings and Michael Owen. Reporters were Gabriel Clarke and Martin Bayfield.

ITV will broadcast the 2015 Rugby World Cup in the UK. On 23 March 2015 ITV announced their team to broadcast every game of the 2015 World Cup across both ITV & ITV4. ITV put together an experienced team who cover the tournament for ITV, BBC, BT Sport & Sky Sports.

ITV Rugby World Cup 2015 Team

  • Presenters: John Inverdale, Craig Doyle & Mark Durden-Smith
  • Pundits: Sir Clive Woodward, Jonny Wilkinson, Jason Robinson, Lawrence Dallaglio, Brian O'Driscoll, Gareth Thomas, Sir Ian McGeechan, Sean Fitzpatrick, George Gregan, Francois Pienaar, Michael Lynagh, Maggie Alphonsi & David Flatman
  • Commentators: Nick Mullins, Miles Harrison, Martin Gillingham, Jon Champion & Simon Ward
  • Co-Commentators: Ben Kay, Shane Williams, Scott Hastings & Geordan Murphy
  • Reporters: Jill Douglas, Martin Bayfield, Fran Donovan & Gabriel Clarke.



ITV obtained the rights to the prestigious Tour de France in 2002, replacing Channel 4 as the UK terrestrial broadcaster. The coverage is shown on ITV4, having aired in previous years on ITV2 and ITV3. Initially, live coverage was only broadcast at the weekend but since the 2010 Tour de France, ITV4 has broadcast daily live coverage of every stage, as well as the nightly highlights show. A new contract will see the event remain on the channel until 2015[7] Coverage is fronted by Gary Imlach, who is normally accompanied by a former competitor as a pundit (such as Chris Boardman). Commentary comes from Phil Liggett and Paul Sherwen (who also broadcast for other English-language channels around the world), thus re-uniting the former Channel 4 broadcast team. Eurosport also broadcasts the event, covering every stage live.

ITV broadcast the Tours of Britain, France and Ireland until 2013, bringing their coverage of cycling events to 11 years. [2]. In 2011, ITV4 began to broadcast the Vuelta a España, the last of the three cycling Grand Tours. In Spring 2013, ITV4 began to broadcast highlights of other Amaury Sport Organisation races.


ITV was the first broadcaster of Darts in the United Kingdom covering the News of the World Championship on World of Sport with commentary by Dave Lanning. They covered many BDO tournaments on World of Sport before the split in Darts, the most famous being the Winmau World Masters from 1974 to 1988. When World of Sport ended ITV scaled back its darts coverage and dropped Darts altogether in 1988.

With the exception of a single one-off event, the 1999 Match of the Century featuring PDC World Champion Phil Taylor against BDO World Champion Raymond van Barneveld,[8] it would be almost 20 years before ITV resumed coverage of the sport when in March 2007, ITV Sport announced they would be covering an all new darts tournament, the Grand Slam of Darts, comprising champions of both the BDO and PDC tournaments. ITV covered the event between 2007 and 2010. In 2010 Sky Sports announced they would be covering the Grand Slam of Darts in a new contract with the PDC. ITV Sport had also aired the inaugural PDC European Championships in 2008. In 2010 after ITV lost the Grand Slam it looked like they were going to drop their Darts coverage as they did not cover the 2011 Players Championship in Doncaster. However in 2011 ITV signed a new contract with the PDC to show the European Darts Championship in July and the 2nd Second Players Championship Finals of 2011 will be televised on ITV4, having been shown on the channel in 2009 and 2010.[9]

On 14 June 2013 the PDC and ITV4 announced they had signed a new deal with ITV4 to cover 4 tournaments a year from 2013 to 2015. The tournaments are The Players Championship which they had covered from 2009 to 2010 and from December 2011 – present, The European Championship which they covered previously in 2008 and 2011, a new tournament called the Masters where the top 16 face in other in a tournament lasting 3 days akin to the highly popular snooker masters which happens in January every year and the UK Open, otherwise known as the FA Cup of Darts, which had previously been on Sky. The date of this tournament was moved to March of every year and is now in Minehead.

In late 2014 it was announced ITV signed a deal to cover 5 Darts Tournaments in 2015 covering a new tournament entitled the World Series of Darts Finals. This means that in 2015 ITV will cover the Masters in January, the UK Open in March, the European Championship in October, the World Series of Darts Finals and Players Championship Finals in November.[10]

For the first Grand Slam ITV's darts presenter was Matt Smith, pundits included Steve Beaton and Alan Warriner-Little who also co-commentated alongside John Rawling and Sky darts commentator Stuart Pyke and Nigel Pearson. For the 2008 Grand Slam Beaton was replaced by Chris Mason and ITV Sport Football Commentator Peter Drury while reports come from Ned Boulting and Janie Omorogbe, who had featured on ITV Sport's coverage of the British Superbike Championship. Peter Drury hasn't covered Darts for ITV since 2010 and now their darts team is Matt Smith, Alan Warriner-Little, Chris Mason, Stuart Pyke, John Rawling and Ned Boulting. Jim Proudfoot (who works for BBC Darts Coverage), Dan Dawson (who reports on Darts for Talksport), Isa Guha and Tony Wrighton have deputised for ITV when any of the usual team have been unavailable.


In November 2008, ITV Sport acquired the rights to the Black Rock Tennis Masters.[11] Live coverage and highlights of the tournament air on ITV4 and Originally, Craig Doyle presented the coverage with commentary from John Lloyd and Simon Reed but in 2010, Matt Smith was the presenter with commentary from Simon Reed and Annabel Croft. John Inverdale has hosted the coverage since 2012 with John Lloyd returning to the commentary team.

In 2011 ITV Sport won the rights from the BBC to show the French Open[12] and has shown the event since 2012. The bulk of the daily coverage is broadcast on ITV4 although both singles finals plus other weekend matches are shown on ITV. John Inverdale hosts the coverage. Commentators include Jim Courier, Amelie Mauresmo, Sam Smith, Mark Petchey, Nick Mullins and Fabrice Santoro. However, controversy reigned in 2014 when ITV1stopped coverage of the men's final with four points left and sent the match to ITV4 thus denying viewers recording the match to watch later and those unable to access the digital channels the chance to see Nadal win an historic title. This did not deter ITV from immediately renewing its deal to show the tournament and ITV Sport will now shown the French Open until 2018.[13]


In the 1980s and early 1990s, ITV broadcast up to four Major Snooker Tournaments per season including The World Doubles Championships, The World Matchplay, The Mercantile Credit Classic and The British Open. Daytime action was sometimes shown on Channel 4. However, ITV decided to axe all of its snooker after the 1993 British Open.

ITV briefly returned to the green baize 2000 and 2001 and since 2010 has shown a single weekend of a new format of the sport called Power Snooker. In February 2013 ITV4 broadcast the World Open and this was the first time for 20 years that ITV had shown a ranking tournament. Hosted by Jill Douglas, the commentary team comprised Clive Everton, Neal Foulds and Peter Drury. It was announced in June 2013 that ITV4 will cover the new tournament entitled the Champion of Champions from November 2013 and this tournament is from the Ricoh Arena in Coventry. Peter Drury left the ITV Snooker team after the World Open and has been replaced by Alan McManus. ITV dropped the World Open after 2013 as the coverage from China had to be shown in the morning on ITV4 however they showed the 2nd Champion of Champions Tournament on ITV4 in 2014. In summer 2014 ITV and Barry Hearn announced they had signed a 5 year deal to cover 2 Snooker Tournaments per year, keeping coverage of the Champion of Champions and a new tournament in March each year called the World Grand Prix.[14]

Sports Life Stories[edit]

ITV Sport's award winning [15] documentary strand has featured the stories of many sporting greats. Sports Life Stories series one was first shown on ITV4 in 2012 and included episodes on Ronnie O'Sullivan, Dame Kelly Holmes, Fabrice Muamba, Barry McGuigan, Gareth Thomas, Brian Lara, Amir Khan and Lawrence Dallaglio. Series two first shown on ITV4 in 2013 included episodes on James Cracknell, David Weir, Nicola Adams, Jermain Defoe, Eric Bristow, Chris Eubank, Didier Drogba and Jimmy White. Series 3 returns in February 2015. Reporters on the series have included Gabriel Clarke, Ned Boulting, Adam Darke and Leon Mann.


ITV Sport has broadcast many boxing matches over the years under the Big Fight Live banner and the sport was a regular fixture on ITV screens until the mid 1990s when ITV lost its two premier contracts - in mid-1994 Barry Hearn took Chris Eubank and his stable of fighters to Sky Sports and at the start of 1996, Sky Sports won the rights to show Sports Network fights,.[16] This left ITV with only occasional boxing for the following ten years. Their only networked boxing during this period were a few fights involving Shea Neary, thanks to a contract with Merseyside promoter John Hyland. Other bouts were shown on ITV2 and the ill-fated ITV Sport Channel. Other boxing was shown on a regional basis, but this was rare.[17]

In May 2005, ITV returned to the ring with live coverage of Amir Khan's last fight before becoming professional against Mario Kindelan. It achieved a peak audience of 6.3 million viewers, encouraging ITV to reach a long-term agreement to broadcast the main share of Frank Warren's Sports Network fights (that, for the last decade, had previously been aired by Sky Sports) and as a result broadcasts fights involving Amir Khan, Joe Calzaghe, Danny Williams, Audley Harrison, Dereck Chisora and others. Other highlights included Joe Calzaghe's emphatic victory over Jeff Lacy for the WBO and IBF super-middleweight world title at the Manchester MEN Arena in March 2006. The first contest between Audley Harrison and Danny Williams in December 2005 achieved an audience of eight million viewers giving credence to the fact there is large potential audience for top class boxing in the UK. During this period the main event was usually shown on the ITV Network while undercard matches were often televised on ITV4.

On 6 September 2008, Amir Khan switched to Sky from ITV, signalling the end of ITV's contract with Frank Warren's Sports Network promotion (Khan suffered a shock first round knockout by Breidis Prescott in his first fight screened by Sky Box Office). Later that month, ITV announced a 2 year, 26 fight deal with Hennessy Sports. The majority of fights was screened on ITV4 and was once again hosted by Jim Rosenthal, who made an unexpected return to ITV having previously been axed in early 2008. Amir Khan moved back to ITV in 2010, when his fight against Paulie Malignaggi was broadcast live in the early hours of Sunday 15 May 2010. ITV also broadcast delayed coverage of at least one Carl Froch fight in America the night after it took place. ITV then decided to stop covering the sport as ITV thought that boxing was no longer commercially viable.

The main host of ITV Boxing was Jim Rosenthal and until 1996 the main commentators were Reg Gutteridge and Jim Watt, both of whom moved to Sky while continuing to commentate for the few boxing shows ITV televised in the late 1990s, which were presented by Russ Williams. Graham Beecroft commentated on boxing on a regional basis during the late 1990s. When boxing returned to ITV on a regular basis in 2005 Jim Rosenthal resumed presenting duties and Barry McGuigan left Sky Sports to continue his role as a pundit on ITV. John Rawling and Duke McKenzie were the commentators and Gabriel Clarke provided reports and conducted interviews with the boxers.

ITV is to return to Boxing in 2015 covering Belfast world Champion Carl Frampton live. The main fight will be on ITV and the undercard will be broadcast on ITV4.[18] The Frampton Fight was presented from Belfast by Mark Pougatch alongside Bernard Dunne, David Haye, Richie Woodhall and Al Bernstein. Commentary was provided by Ron McIntosh and Al Bernstein with Gabriel Clarke reporting.


Cricket has only been shown very occasionally on ITV. The BBC had been the major broadcaster of cricket during the 20th century until it lost all of its cricket coverage to Channel 4 in 1999 and since 2005 Sky Sports has been the main broadcaster of the sport. However during the BBC's dominance of coverage of the sport ITV occasionally broadcast cricket on a regional basis, such as the Roses matches between Yorkshire and Lancashire which were shown in the north of England. ITV also showed highlights of England's overseas tour of New Zealand in 1988. After this there was to be no more cricket on ITV until the broadcaster showed highlights of the 2010–11 Ashes series, which saw England retain The Ashes, were shown on free-to-air on digital ITV4. However, the highlights were not shown until late in the evening when the following day's live action was about to get under way. ITV4 also showed highlights of that tour's Twenty20 and one-day series.

Encouraged by the success of having aired the Indian Premier League (IPL) in 2010, on a one-year contract, UK broadcaster ITV has signed a new four-year deal with Nimbus Communications for the UK broadcast rights to the IPL. Under the new agreement, live coverage of IPL matches will be broadcast free-to-air on ITV4 and simulcast live on For the first season on ITV Mandira Badi hosted alongside Matt Smith with Jim Rosenthal stepping in occasionally. From 2011-2014 Shonali Nagrani hosted alongside Matt Smith with Isa Guha, Mark Pougatch or Angus Scott filling in when the others were unavailable. Pundits for the competition have included Ian Harvey, Simon Hughes, Mark Butcher, Dominic Cork and many others.

In February 2014 ITV lost coverage of the IPL from the 2015 season to Sky Sports.[19]

After ITV lost the IPL in 2014 it looked like no Cricket would be on ITV for the foreseeable future however ITV are to return to Cricket for the 2015 Cricket World Cup showing highlights on ITV & ITV4, these rights were previously broadcast by BBC Sport in 2007 and 2011.[20] For the 2015 Cricket World Cup ITV just use a voiceover at various times during the show provided by Tom Skippings, Richard Henwood or Georgie Bingham with commentary and pictures coming from the World Feed all broadcasters use.

Previous ITV Sport coverage[edit]


In 1985, ITV won the rights to show British Athletics from the BBC. As well as broadcasting UK athletics, the channel also showed many of the major European evening meetings whereby ITV showed the first hour with the second hour broadcast on Channel 4. ITV also broadcast the 1983 and 1987 World Championships and the European Athletics Championships during the 1980s and in 1990. Again, some of the coverage was broadcast on Channel 4. Jim Rosenthal presented the coverage with commentary from Alan Parry, Peter Matthews and Steve Ovett. ITV scaled back its coverage of the sport in the early 1990s and decided to axe all remaining athletics coverage in 1997 and the sport has subsequently never been seen on the channel. Channel 4 briefly took the baton from ITV, showing UK meetings in 1997 and 1998, before coverage reverted to the BBC in 1999.

The Boat Race[edit]

In 2004, ITV won the rights to the annual Varsity Boat Race from the BBC. The contract ran to 2009. Hosts of the coverage were initially Gabby Logan and Mark Durden Smith. Craig Doyle took over as presenter, while Peter Drury commentated. James Cracknell acted as a co presenter and pundit.

The opening titles, commissioned by Paul McNamara and directed by Victor Martinez, won a Royal Television Society award in 2006 for best Sport based titles, whilst the overall race coverage directed by John Watts, was nominated for two BAFTAs and also won at the RTS Awards.

ITV Sport did not renew its contract for The Boat Race after its contract ended due to wanting to concentrate on football. The rights reverted to the BBC.


Previously, ITV held the rights to English top flight football highlights (both in its current iteration as the Premier League and as the old Football League First Division). It acquired the Premiership highlights in 2000 for the 2001–02, 2002–03 and 2003–04 seasons, surprising the BBC, the previous holders, and ending Match of the Day as a weekly programme (it continued on an ad-hoc basis during FA Cup and England weekends, which coincidentally switched to the BBC at the same time). The ITV Premiership programme was titled 'The Premiership' and was presented by Des Lynam (himself formerly a presenter for Match of the Day). The show originally went out at 7pm, but this ended up being unpopular with viewers and advertisers. As such, the show was moved to 10.30pm only a few months later. During this period, The Goal Rush was aired on Saturday during the football matches taking place on that day to provide live scores and match reports. It used a similar format to Gillette Soccer Saturday on Sky Sports but never achieved good ratings. The programme ended in 2003. ITV held the Premiership rights for one three-year contract - the rights returned to the BBC for the start of the 2004–05 season.

ITV shared the rights for the FA Cup with the BBC from 1955 to 1988 with both broadcasters covering the final most of the time this was the only match on television every season and BBC & ITV started coverage from early morning trying to gain the upper hand on their rival, during the 1980s both companies would have selected matches from each round however BBC always won on Cup Final Day mainly because they didn't have any adverts. BBC won the rights in the late 1980s and the secondary rights went to the Sports Channel which later became Sky Sports.

ITV had the rights to broadcast the FA Cup exclusively on terrestrial television in 1997, showing each final with Sky from 1998 to 2001 while the BBC screened highlights on Match of the Day. In 2008, ITV regained the FA Cup and England rights. ITV shows live coverage of one game from both the first round and second round of the FA Cup, two live games and one replay (if necessary) from the 3rd round to quarter-finals, one semi-final and the final (shared with BT Sport the competition's pay-TV broadcaster), plus highlights of all other games. ITV lost these rights from the end of the 2013–14 season to BBC Sport.

Formula 1[edit]

ITV covered Formula One from 1997 to 2008, after the BBC lost the rights. The deal, worth £60 million, offered extended pre and post race analysis and complete live coverage of qualifying, thanks to a deal negotiated with FOM's Bernie Ecclestone. ITV chose to bid for the rights due to constantly being beaten at weekends while the Grand Prix coverage was on.[21]

Coverage was originally presented by Jim Rosenthal from 1997 to 2005 with Tony Jardine as analyst until 2001 when he shared the role with Mark Blundell. Jardine and Rosenthal both left ITV's coverage at the end of the 2005 season, with ex-BBC Sport presenter Steve Rider replacing the latter as the presenter of the coverage.[22] ITV also managed to secure Murray Walker to continue commentating as he had done with the BBC, his new co-commentator was ex-F1 driver Martin Brundle, who would act as a summariser, similar to the position James Hunt and Jonathan Palmer had when the BBC televised the sport.[21] On several occasions, different people would stand in for Brundle on commentary, including Derek Warwick, Jody Scheckter, Anthony Davidson and 1996 Drivers' Champion Damon Hill.

The 2001 United States Grand Prix was Walker's last in the ITV commentary booth, having missed four other races that season.[23] James Allen moved up from his former role as pitlane reporter to replace Walker in the commentary box with Brundle still commentating as usual and Ted Kravitz inheriting Allen's old role. ITV also introduced Martin Brundle's hugely popular gridwalk (a role he continued on the BBC and still continues to do so on Sky Sports F1), where roughly 10–15 minutes before the start of the race Brundle would walk around the grid interviewing drivers, team personnel, celebrities and whoever else he could find.[21] One such interview was with the King of Spain.

ITV drew criticism for airing advertisement breaks during the races - they were obliged to take five three-minute commercial breaks during each race. In 2005 the network angered fans by running adverts during the tense conclusion to the San Marino Grand Prix. ITV repeated the last three laps after the race but were inundated with complaints from angry viewers. As a result of these complaints, the server on their website crashed and they were fined by regulator Ofcom. An on-air apology was made by Rosenthal before the start of the next race in Spain two weeks later.[24]

However, ITV were also recognised positively for their coverage of Formula 1, and won several awards including several BAFTA nominations and RTS awards. Jim Rosenthal won an award for best sports presenter, and Brundle won an award for best sports analyst.[25] ITV Sport won a British Academy Television Award in 2007 for its coverage of the 2006 Hungarian Grand Prix, where Jenson Button won for the first time.

On 13 March 2008, ITV announced that they would be for the first time ever streaming live-coverage of practice sessions, with qualifying, race coverage, and extra features also broadcast on their website for UK-based users.[26] However, they later announced that they had enacted a clause within their contract enabling them to leave F1 coverage after the 2008 season. It is believed this was done for commercial reasons and to allow more money to be spent on securing coverage of the UEFA Champions League. The BBC retained coverage from 2009 onwards. Ironically, ITV F1's highest ever broadcast rating came in its final race, the 2008 Brazilian Grand Prix (the first season in which ITV had aired a British Championship victory), which attracted 8.8 million viewers, peaking at 12.5 million viewers.[27] On 17 November 2008, BBC announced that Martin Brundle would continue his commentary role alongside Jonathan Legard during the 2009 season, while Ted Kravitz would continue his pit-lane reporter role alongside Lee McKenzie.[28]

Horse Racing[edit]

Until the mid 1980s, horse racing was shown regularly on ITV. Racing was a mainstay of World of Sport throughout the programme's run with the ITV Seven featuring almost every week (the only exception was generally on FA Cup final day). ITV also showed racing during the week. ITV showed many of racing's showpiece events, including all the flat racing classics, although the channel never showed The Grand National as this event was covered by the BBC. In the mid 1980s coverage was switched to Channel 4. In early 1984, ITV's midweek action was moved with Saturday's racing coverage making the switch in autumn 1985, a few weeks before the final edition of World of Sport was broadcast. ITV continued to broadcast coverage of The Derby, simulcasting Channel 4's coverage, but stopped doing so after the 1988 event and this was the last time that horse racing was broadcast on ITV.


As part of the F1 contract, the network showed the GP2 Series, the feeder series to F1. These programmes were broadcast a week after the event (until 2007). From 2008, live coverage was shown on ITV4, presented by Charlotte Webster with commentary from BBC Radio 5 Lives' David Croft. ITV lost coverage of the GP2 Series from 2009 following the loss of the F1 contract to the BBC.

Olympic Games[edit]

ITV covered the summer Olympic Games 1968, 1972, 1980 and 1988. Costs associated with staff working overseas prevented coverage of the 1984 Los Angeles Olympics but the Games returned to ITV screens for one last time in 1988, sharing the coverage with Channel 4 - Channel 4 showing the overnight and breakfast coverage with ITV covering the daytime action as well as broadcasting early evening highlights programmes.[29]

ITV has never broadcast the Winter Olympics.


Was shown as part of ITV's flagship sports programme World of Sport until the programme was cancelled in 1985. After that, wrestling was shown as a programme in its own right, moving to a lunchtime slot. This continued until 1988. Its many stars included Big Daddy and Giant Haystacks, and used to get viewing figures of 8 million every week.


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  17. ^ BFI Film & Television Database: "The Big Fight - Live!"
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  19. ^ BSkyB wins UK rights to IPL
  20. ^ "ITV to show Cricket World Cup Highlights". Guardian Newspaper. Guardian. Retrieved 2015-01-27. 
  21. ^ a b c Walker, Murray (September 2002). Murray Walker: Unless I'm Very Much Mistaken. CollinsWillow. pp. 217–223. ISBN 0-00-712696-4. 
  22. ^ Gibson, Owen (2005-09-24). "Rider set for return to ITV after 20 years at the BBC". (London: Guardian News and Media). Retrieved 2008-06-05. 
  23. ^ Walker, Murray (September 2002). Murray Walker: Unless I'm Very Much Mistaken. CollinsWillow. pp. 356–359. ISBN 0-00-712696-4. 
  24. ^ Hancock, Matthew (2005-04-25). "Rosenthal sorry for race break". London: The Guardian. Retrieved 2008-06-12. 
  25. ^ "Accolade for ITV's Brundle". 2006. Retrieved 2007-08-13. 
  26. ^ ITV to stream F1 live on the web - F1 | ITV Sport
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  29. ^ - "ITV gave up the battle a long time ago" - written 9 August 2012

External links[edit]