WWhen Sam Matterface finished ITV’s commentary on England’s historic Euro 2020 victory over Denmark, he concluded with a call to viewers asking them to stay with the Commercial Channel for Sunday night’s final on the basis of “superstition”.
He faces a daunting task, even as the semi-final victory shattered ITV’s unfortunate ‘curse’ of televising England’s defeats in major football leagues. Throughout the tournament, the BBC and ITV have alternated the rights to broadcast England’s matches turn-based, but for the final they will both offer live coverage.
As Sunday’s match between England and Italy is set to be one of the most watched events in British television history, the vast majority of those who watch it are expected to watch the show without BBC advertising rather than its commercial rival.
In order to defend itself and increase its audience share, ITV tries to offer something different. He promotes the signing of Chelsea Women’s manager Emma Hayes, whose precise but clear tactical analysis has been hailed as one of the tournament’s highlights.
The channel also uses the programming trick of showing Michael Caine’s The Italian Job in the afternoon before starting its coverage, in the hope that viewers who have watched the story of an English heist will -current be convinced to stay with the chain. In the evening.
But attention will inevitably turn to Matterface, who replaced veteran Clive Tyldesley as ITV’s senior football commentator last year. Under the scrutiny of tens of millions of viewers, he made a few mistakes – failing to mention that Denmark played the end of the game with just 10 men before finally acknowledging that they have “one less member on the pitch. “- but has also won praise for his work alongside Des Lynam co-commentator Lee Dixon, among others.
Rather than showing a classic movie, the BBC decided the best approach to trick viewers was to start its programming 10 minutes earlier than ITV, with the build-up starting at 6:20 p.m. hosted by Gary Lineker with Alan Shearer, Rio Ferdinand and Frank Lampard. Comments on the game will come from Guy Mowbray and Jermaine Jenas.
The all-time audience record for British television is currently set at the 32.3 million people who watched England win the 1966 World Cup final, although this figure was recorded before the introduction modern surveillance-based audience research techniques.
ITV recorded a peak viewing audience of 27.6 million viewers for the England-Denmark semi-final, and additional publicity around the final is expected to push Sunday’s TV audience well beyond. Official figures do not include those who look in pubs or other public spaces.
One of ITV’s biggest issues during the tournament was dealing with the technical challenges of streaming. A growing number of people, especially young viewers who rarely watch live TV, watch without an antenna, via streaming to smart TVs or laptops or phones. But with millions of people simultaneously trying to access ITV Hub, the broadcaster’s streaming service, he sometimes struggled to cope during major England matches.
Even when streaming is working, the inevitable delay that comes with getting the video to the internet rather than the airwaves – something the BBC has also worked to reduce – means viewers can hear their neighbors celebrating their goals before they go. be able to see them for themselves. screen.
The rights-less Euro 2020 broadcasters had to improvise, with Channel 4 choosing on Saturday to broadcast the entire 1966 World Cup final in color for the first time on British television.