60 Facts About ITV Sport


The majority of ITV Sport programmes are broadcast on ITV4 although live football, major horse racing events and the Rugby World Cup are shown on the ITV Network.

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Director of ITV Sport is Niall Sloane, who reports to ITV's director of television Kevin Lygo.

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ITV Sport was created as an umbrella brand for sport programmes on the ITV network; no programmes were actually produced by ITV Sport during this time, but rather the 15 ITV companies each produced sports shows for the umbrella brand, such as World of Sport by LWT and Midweek Sports Special by Thames Television.

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ITV Sport launched its pay-per-view channel, ITV Sport Box Office, on 4 February 2017 when it showed coverage of Chris Eubank Jr.

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ITV Sport holds joint rights for the FIFA World Cup with the BBC and has shown every World Cup live since 1966, on a shared basis with the BBC.

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ITV Sport shared the rights for the FA Cup with the BBC from 1955 to 1988 and will again from 2021 to 2022 with both broadcasters covering the final live.

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ITV Sport regained the live 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.

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On 23 May 2019, ITV regained the rights from BT Sport from 2021 to 2022 making the FA Cup fully free to air for the first time since 1988.

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British Touring Car Championship is another series ITV Sport won away from the BBC, doing so in 2002 and in 2004, ITV Sport introduced live coverage of the British Touring Car Championship for the first time on network television.

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In 2006, ITV Sport replaced Channel 4 as the terrestrial broadcaster of the British Superbike Championship.

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From 2014 to 2016 ITV4 showed highlights of MotoGP which aired on the Monday night after the race, the BT Sport team contributed to the commentary and was in essence a BT Sport production for ITV.

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In 2021, ITV Sport4 regained the rights to MotoGP highlights, and showed the French GP live, with the British GP due to be shown on ITV Sport.

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The only tournament that ITV Sport has not shown has been the inaugural tournament held in 1987.

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ITV Sport acquired shared rights to the Heineken Cup for a single season in 2001, when Premium TV failed to launch its channel on time.

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On 4 February 2017, it was announced that ITV Sport had extended its contract for the Rugby World Cup until the 2023 tournament.

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ITV Sport 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.

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ITV Sport 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 Sport until 2017.

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On 1 January 2016 it was announced ITV Sport had won rights to be the exclusive free to air home of British Horse Racing from 1 January 2017 taking over from Channel 4 which had taken ITV rights previously in the 1980s.

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ITV Sport obtained the rights to the Tour de France in 2002, replacing Channel 4 as the UK terrestrial broadcaster.

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ITV Sport has highlights to the Tour Series cycling, and several of the classic French races, such as Paris-Roubaix.

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ITV Sport was the first broadcaster of darts in the United Kingdom back in 1972.

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When World of Sport ended ITV scaled back its darts coverage and dropped darts altogether in 1988 and with the exception of a single one-off event, the 1999 Match of the Century between PDC World Champion Phil Taylor and BDO World Champion Raymond van Barneveld.

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In 2011 ITV Sport signed a new contract with the PDC to show the European Darts Championship in July and the Second Players Championship Finals of 2011.

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On 14 June 2013 the PDC and ITV Sport announced they had signed a new deal to cover four tournaments a year from 2013 to 2015.

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In late 2014 it was announced ITV Sport signed a deal to cover five darts tournaments in 2015 covering a new tournament entitled the World Series of Darts Finals.

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However, ITV decided to axe all of its snooker after the 1993 British Open and apart from a brief return to the green baize in 2000 and 2001, the sport was absent from ITV screens for more than 20 years.

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ITV Sport's award-winning documentary strand has featured the stories of many sporting greats.

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In 1985, ITV Sport won the rights to show British Athletics from the BBC.

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Channel 4 briefly took the baton from ITV Sport, showing UK meetings in 1997 and 1998, before coverage reverted to the BBC in 1999.

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In 2004, ITV Sport won the rights to the annual Varsity Boat Race from the BBC.

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

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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 1995, Sky Sports won the rights to show Sports Network fights.

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In May 2005, ITV Sport returned to the ring with live coverage of Amir Khan's last fight before becoming professional against Mario Kindelan.

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Later that month, ITV announced a 2-year, 26-fight deal with Hennessy Sports.

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ITV Sport broadcast delayed coverage of at least one Carl Froch fight in America the night after it took place.

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ITV then decided to stop covering the sport as ITV thought that boxing was no longer commercially viable.

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ITV Sport made a return to boxing in 2015, covering Belfast world champion Carl Frampton live.

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Main host of ITV Sport 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 Sport televised in the late 1990s, which were presented by Russ Williams.

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ITV Sport showed highlights of England's overseas tour of New Zealand in 1988.

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

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Previously, ITV Sport held the rights to English top flight football highlights.

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The ITV Sport programme was titled The Premiership and was presented by Des Lynam, Matt Smith or Gabby Logan.

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ITV Sport had a long-standing association with European club football, which dates back to the earliest days of ITV Sport in the 1950s.

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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.

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Live coverage ended in 2015 when BT Sport took over as exclusive broadcaster of the UEFA Champions League and UEFA Europa League, although ITV's involvement with the competition remained through showing highlights of both competitions every matchweek.

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From 2008 until 2022 ITV Sport covered all of England's international home friendlies and qualifiers for the European Championship and World Cup, the deal was extended to include away friendlies in 2009 and qualifiers from 2010 until it lost the rights to Channel 4 in 2022.

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ITV Sport cover one other European qualifier per round not involving a home nation on ITV Sport4 as well, as showing highlights of the rest of the games including those of Wales, Scotland, Northern Ireland and the Republic of Ireland.

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In February 2019, ITV acquired the rights to show LaLiga Santander, the top flight of Spanish football alongside Eleven Sports and Premier Sports.

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ITV Sport covered Formula One during the 1976 and 1977 seasons and from 1997 to 2008, after the BBC lost the rights.

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ITV Sport chose to bid for the rights due to constantly being beaten at weekends while the Grand Prix coverage was on.

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ITV Sport drew criticism for airing advertisement breaks during the races – they were obliged to take five three-minute commercial breaks during each race.

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ITV Sport repeated the last three laps after the race but were inundated with complaints from angry viewers.

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In March 2008, ITV Sport announced that they had enacted a clause within their contract enabling them to leave F1 coverage after the 2008 season.

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In December 2015, ITV Sport were rumoured to be broadcasting Formula One again from the 2016 season.

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ITV Sport had the 1979 rights but the 1979 cup wasn't televised in the UK due to the 1979 ITV Sport strike.

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ITV Sport4 showed coverage of the World Rally Championship in the mid-2000s under their speed Sunday banner and again from 2012 to 2015 again losing the rights to Channel 5.

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ITV Sport covered the summer Olympic Games 1968,1972,1980 and 1988.

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In 2011, ITV Sport won the rights from the BBC to show the French Open and started televising the event in 2012.

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In 2018, ITV Sport renewed its deal to show the tournament for another 3 years.

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World of ITV Sport Wrestling returned on New Years Day 2017 with a new generation of British Wrestlers and commentary from legendary WWE commentator Jim 'JR' Ross and former British Wrestler Alex Shane.

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