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Challenge and Pick to show Euro 2020 matches on Thursday

(November 2020)

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RI
Richard
*

The obsession we had (well certain people had) last time that Pick was DEFINITELY getting a rebrand just before the football was due on was madness. I'm not sure I can go through all that again!

Sky showing the football on Challenge is the equivalent of ITV showing it on the ITV News Channel (or was it still the ITN News Channel back then?).


Yes, they definitely showed it when it was still the ITN News Channel too, before the rebrand but after it had been bought by Carlton/Granada. After 9/11, they used Granada Plus for a while, I think.
SW
Steve Williams
Yes, they definitely showed it when it was still the ITN News Channel too, before the rebrand but after it had been bought by Carlton/Granada. After 9/11, they used Granada Plus for a while, I think.


This was the 2002/03 season, when ITV still had the exclusive rights to the competition, but as the ITV Sport Channel had gone bust, didn't have enough channels to show them all on, so they used the news channel. For the first three matchdays, it was still the ITN News Channel, and the matches could only be shown on the cable version of the channel, as the satellite version could be picked up in mainland Europe, and on terrestrial the channel was only on air in the morning, so absolutely nobody saw them. There's a great minute-by-minute on the Guardian website somewhere where they realise about ten minutes before the Newcastle match on the first matchday they can't actually pick up the channel, so do a minute-by-minute of Coronation Street instead.

In October, it became the ITV News Channel, ran 24 hours on the newly-launched Freeview and the satellite version could only be seen in the UK, so the matches were now available to all viewers. This continued for the rest of that season but in March a Newcastle match scheduled for ITV News was shunted over to Granada Plus at the last minute as the Gulf War was starting that night. That was a very controversial one, on the Tuesday ITV1 had shown a completely meaningless Man U match, and then on the Wednesday Arsenal and Newcastle had crucial matches and they were dumped on ITV2 and Granada Plus respectively. ITV pretended they "weren't allowed" to show Wednesday matches on ITV1, while hoping nobody remembered they'd shown a Man U match on a Wednesday about three weeks earlier. They just clearly wanted to show Man U on ITV1 as they got big ratings.

After that season ITV started sharing the rights with Sky and only had two matches each matchday, which were on ITV1 and ITV2, and the use of ITV News came to an end. Previously they'd shown some matches on Granada Plus and Carlton Select before ITV2 began in 1998.
BR
Brekkie
And prior to the ITV Sport Channel they used ONSport 1/2 from ONDigital, which I think pretty much only showed the Champions League and ATP Tennis.
TV
TV Monkey
That was a very controversial one, on the Tuesday ITV1 had shown a completely meaningless Man U match, and then on the Wednesday Arsenal and Newcastle had crucial matches and they were dumped on ITV2 and Granada Plus respectively. ITV pretended they "weren't allowed" to show Wednesday matches on ITV1, while hoping nobody remembered they'd shown a Man U match on a Wednesday about three weeks earlier. They just clearly wanted to show Man U on ITV1 as they got big ratings.


There was uproar in the North East as Tyne Tees had previously been allowed to opt out of the network to show Newcastle rather than Arsenal. But for the crucial group game against Barcelona they were blocked from opting out of the Manchester United dead rubber on the Tuesday in order to show the Newcastle game the following evening. There was a lot of controversy about football fans being forced to watch Corrie while the crucial game was on a little-watched digital channel.

The previous season I believe that regions were able to opt out of the Tuesday game and show their local sides the following night, showing the Wednesday network schedule a day early.

Baffling that ITV wouldn't want to maximise their total audience by showing the matches with the most interest in each region.
SW
Steve Williams
The previous season I believe that regions were able to opt out of the Tuesday game and show their local sides the following night, showing the Wednesday network schedule a day early.


Not quite. Up until 1999, all the Champions League matches were on the same night so it was easy enough for one region to opt out while the network almost inevitably showed Man U - indeed, there was one example in 1998 when Carlton opted out for Arsenal only for a delayed kick-off meaning they had to show Corrie the following evening. But from 1999 it was complicated in that matches were now played across two nights. ITV had the Wednesday matches and ONDigital had the Tuesday ones, and although the Scottish regions were able to opt out if one of their teams was on the Tuesday (I remember them showing the NTAs on a delay at 10pm one yeat after a Rangers match), the English regions didn't.

The one you're thinking of is in 2001/02, when ITV had the Wednesday matches on ITV1 and the ITV Sport Channel had all the others, including all the Tuesday ones. Unfortunately, in the draw one week it came out with Liverpool vs Barcelona and Man U vs Bayern on the same Tuesday, and only Arsenal vs Deportivo on the Wednesday. There was no way ITV were going to miss out on that on the Tuesday, so in the end the network showed Liverpool vs Barcelona on the Tuesday, apart from Carlton, who showed The Bill and Millionaire, and then on the Wednesday Carlton showed Arsenal, while the rest of the network showed The Bill and Millionaire. The ITV Sport Channel showed both. But that only happened on that one occasion.

That was a great example of the failings of the ITV Sport Channel too in that the second a really big match turned up, ITV shoved it on ITV1 as well so there was no point in subscribing, which illustrates the problem of trying to run both a subscription sports channel trying to make money from exclusive content and also a free-to-air channel trying to make money from pulling in enormous audiences.

In 2002/03, after ITV Digital, when ITV still had the lot, ITV1's day was now Tuesday. There would be occasions when the regions would opt-out, I remember a Newcastle match one Tuesday on ITV2 which was also being shown on Tyne Tees in place of the networked match, which I remember because the ITV2 coverage began at 7pm but they started again at 7.30 when Tyne Tees joined, and at half time they did a report on Sunderland sacking their manager, which wouldn't generally have taken priority on a network show. But they never did it on Wednesday because Wednesday was a big night for ITV1 with Corrie and The Bill and they didn't want football two nights running. Of course the big problem was that ITV1 had regions but ITV2 didn't, so if they opted out on ITV1 it wasn't possible for anyone in that region to see the other match.

As I say, they tried to pretend in that case with Newcastle that they "weren't allowed" to show Wednesday matches on ITV1. That had a bit of merit the seasons before when there was a pay element, but not when the Wednesday matches were on ITV2. And, as I say, it ignored the fact they'd shown a Wednesday match on ITV1 about three weeks earlier, because it was Man U vs Juventus.
LondonViewer and UKnews gave kudos
IN
Interceptor
And prior to the ITV Sport Channel they used ONSport 1/2 from ONDigital, which I think pretty much only showed the Champions League and ATP Tennis.

They were a midstep between 'First ONdigital' and ITV Sport Channel/ITV Sport Plus I believe. ONsport 2 and ITV Sport Plus were only used a dozen or so times, and bringing them to air involved taking Carlton Cinema off.

First ONdigital had also showed the final series of the original run of Gladiators a few months before ITV, and a load of arts content.

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=gVz_nnebtdE
SW
Steve Williams
They were a midstep between 'First ONdigital' and ITV Sport Channel/ITV Sport Plus I believe. ONsport 2 and ITV Sport Plus were only used a dozen or so times, and bringing them to air involved taking Carlton Cinema off.

First ONdigital had also showed the final series of the original run of Gladiators a few months before ITV, and a load of arts content.

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=gVz_nnebtdE


First ONDigital showed a few ITV shows before they were on ITV, the final series of Gladiators as you mention, and also an Emmerdale special. I also remember from adverts in the Radio Times that it was home to a special fortnight they did in early 1999, when each day of the channels on the platform would curate a day of programming, so UK Gold did a day of Only Fools repeats and so on.

When they got the Champions League rights in 1999, the matches were shown on the channels Champions on 28 and Champions on 99. The latter was First ONDigital I think and the former was Carlton Cinema which, as you note, they rebranded during the match. Then in 2000 they became ONSport 1 and ONSport 2 as they bought the rights to a few other things, with ONSport 2 the Carlton Cinema opt-out again, and then in 2001 ITV Sport and ITV Sport Plus, although I seem to remember ONSport and ITV Sport co-existing for a week or two as they still had some leftover tennis on ONSport.

The fact Champions on 28/ONSport 2/ITV Sport Plus was actually just Carlton Cinema rebranded for a few hours reminds me that when ITV4 launched, it wasn't available on Sky for a week or so, so the live football they had (which had previously been on ITV2) also had to be shown on Men & Motors, branded as ITV4 On Men & Motors. I also remember when Setanta were a going concern there was one day they had too many events taking place at once, so one of them was shown on Celtic TV, which they also owned, and they billed it as being on Setanta Sports On Channel 438 or similar.
IN
Interceptor
That's really interesting, thanks for sharing. I don't recall ONsport outliving ONdigital but I know ONrequest lived on for a few months before becoming ITV Select (something to do with it being a joint venture with SDN IIRC).
DV
dvboy
Generic Sky Sports DOG on Challenge, which the presenter has referred to as "Sky Challenge"
BR
Brekkie
With England on ITV and Wales on S4C (and SS Mix) this must be the first time in a long time all 4 home nations have been live on FTA TV (or indeed TV in general) at the same time.
AS
Asa Admin
Really nice of them to get Glen Allen to do a couple of voiceovers, was half expecting a v/o less intro. There was one off the back of The Chase "now we love a chase on Challenge, but up and down a football pitch!? That's a new one round here..." and "We're not used to teams with this many players. Northern Ireland vs Slovakia. Live Euro 2020 football now, on Challenge".
BR
Brekkie
Half expected Challenge at least to crash out at 10.15pm as the game was in the final few minutes of extra time, but seems they didn't leave it all to automation as I think other channels who may not usually show sport have been caught out by in the past.

Gutting for NI but great for Scotland - ITV can now pencil in England v Scotland for June 18th next summer. Fingers crossed.

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