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SBD Global/July 3, 2012/Media

Gary Lineker Faces Pay Cut At BBC, May Leave For BT

The BBC and ITV got mixed reviews for their Euro 2012 coverage.
BBC Sport's Match of the Day host Gary Lineker "may quit the BBC for broadcaster BT, leaving the popular Saturday night team without its frontman," according to the London DAILY MIRROR's Simon Boyle. Lineker was "facing a big pay cut" to his £2M ($3.1M) yearly salary at the BBC, which put his future on Match of the Day "into doubt after his agent expressed an interest in him working for BT’s new sports channel." A BT source said, “Obviously, we’re keen that our coverage is hosted by a big-name presenter with a proven track record." BT is said to have set aside “serious money” to fund its football coverage. The insider added: “The budget for presenters is a secret, but suffice to say there is a big chunk put aside for the main host and some pundits" (DAILY MIRROR, 7/2).

HIGH PRAISE: In London, Brian Barwick noted that Lineker is "completely at ease" and "seemed to enjoy the tournament." He was part of the BBC's coverage that forced ITV to concede "another defeat to their rivals in this head-to-head" broadcasting battle. ITV "put up a decent fight," but the BBC "always win it." Lineker has been "particularly at his strongest when coaxing answers and opinions out of studio guests like Harry Redknapp, David Moyes, Clarence Seedorf, Gianluca Vialli and Jurgen Klinsmann." Over on ITV, host Adrian Chiles was "an intriguing mix; a producer's nightmare -- 'where's he taking us now?' -- but with an endearing manner that often involves asking the questions the fans at home want answered." BBC commentators Guy Mowbray and Mark Lawrenson "pick up the winners' medals." They "work well off each other and are at their best when they lay off the comedy, and concentrate on 'who passed to who' and why" (DAILY MAIL, 7/1).

CRITICS ABOUND: In London, Jim Shelley opined that the BBC's football coverage "has been awful." It has started to look "stale and archaic, and in need of a total overhaul." The BBC has "suffered the humiliation of being second best" at Euro 2012 to ITV. That is "despite the presence" of Chiles (DAILY MIRROR, 7/1). Also in London, Stuart Heritage wrote that Euro 2012's TV coverage "taught us all an incredible amount." That includes that the ITV set designer has "access to some unbelievably horrible sofas," and that Lineker "can only use urban slang a maximum of two times before it gets boring." Also, the state of British commentary "is lamentable." ITV commentator Clive Tyldesley "has no shortage of detractors" and Euro 2012 "offered little to change their minds." Lawrenson, meanwhile, "gradually and audibly lost the will to live as the tournament progressed." The BBC's staff offered "an alternative commentary." Ditching the traditional two-voice style of commentary, the BBC lot "essentially threw everything they had at the wall." There were BBC stars Chris Johnson and Sonali Shah and their friends. It "wasn't the best place to hear an authoritative evaluation of the match itself" (GUARDIAN, 7/2).
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