See pattern B in TV Times

Monday, February 6, 2006 by

So the BBC and ITV have finally announced the World Cup split – the agreement on which games from the forthcoming footballing fandango will be screened on each network.

Dissecting¬†this year’s split, announced this afternoon, it’s tempting to suggest ITV have got the upper hand. The BBC get England’s first match, against Paraguay, on the first Saturday, but Gabby and co nab England’s two remaining group games, against Trinidad and Tobago and Sweden, a potential group decider. It’s 2-1 to ITV then, but the BBC have bagged first choice in both the last 16 and quarter-final rounds, which means England’s knockout progress would be exclusive to the BBC. If England reach the semi-final, it will be simulcast on the BBC and ITV.

Elsewhere, the BBC get the opening ceremony and first game, which means ITV have to kick-off by attempting to get all excited at Poland v Ecuador. And the BBC get two fixtures featuring Brazil and Italy, and all of France’s games. Bizarrely, on Tuesday 13 June, the BBC appear to be showing three live matches in one day, which has surely never happened before. There’ll be letters …

In pure commercial terms, ITV will be pleased at getting two guaranteed big games they can sell airtime around, while the BBC are traditionally more disposed to gambling on England making progress for their slice of the blockbuster matches. And no doubt ITV have agreed to this deal in the knowledge that when big games are screened on both BBC and ITV, it’s always the Beeb that cleans up.


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