Saturday, January 24, 2015

World of Sport

Some regular readers have been in touch to ask for inside track on Adrian Chiles' departure from ITV's football coverage. I have none, but am happy to speculate.

ITV Studios is a business, watched like a hawk by Adam Crozier for an ever-improving bottom line. It is approaching the end of the financial year. Mark Demuth runs sport - he produced Adrian on Match of the Day 2 from 2004 to 2009, and moved to ITV football with him in 2010.  A contract signed in 2010 never looks the same value four years later. Mark is also parting company with Andy Townsend and Matt Smith.

Punditry is cheaper than it was; I'm guessing the BBC will spend less this year on Match of the Day sidekicks than it did on a single year on Alan Hansen. More "experts" are portfolio workers, hired by the hour by Sky, BT, 5Live, Eurosport, Arab-funded channels and BBC tv. Few now command the premium payments of 2010.

Do hosts who top and tail shows really make that much difference to your decision about what live football to watch ? If you're in a pub, it's that moment you rush to the bar, surely. If at home, companions watching often suggest the match has not started/finished and can we have some estate agent show back on ?  Lord Hall's process of "compete and compare" might look at Pougatch's deal compared with Gary "Aramis" Lineker.

Adrian will be fine. He has a bit of work on 5Live. There are vacancies on The Apprentice: You're Fired, which he created; or even behind Nick Hewer, at Lord Sugar's left-handed side on the main show - Adrian has both business experience and business acumen. Agent Jon Thoday has made a bid to buy BBC3, and at worst there ought to be some continuity shifts.

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