Shamik Das

Wednesday, June 16, 2010

ITV are ruining the World Cup (and so are the teams)


JUST when they thought it couldn’t possibly get any worse for team ‘Football United’ - as ITV Sport like to call themsleves - so it did with this morning’s red tops leading on the sacking of ‘pundit’ Robbie Earle for palming off 150 World Cup tickets in contravention of FIFA rules.

The headlines were vintage Sun: “Tout of Africa”; and Mirror: “Earley bath”; while FIFA’s ‘source’ was just, well, FIFA, with the startling observation that the three-dozen leggy broads who had managed to lay their hands on his tickets “didn’t look like his family or friends”.

Just imagine if it had been a certain BBC analyst caught out; ‘Garth Crook!’ they’d scream...


Earle-gate follows the complete f*ck-up on Saturday when viewers of ITV HD missed England’s goal and were instead treated to a Hyundai advert, just as ITV had cut away to an ad-break in the middle of an FA Cup tie 16 months ago, missing Dan Gosling’s dramatic late winner for Everton against Liverpool with penalties beckoning.

The thing is, we’ve almost come to expect this from ITV Sport: it’s all about sponsorship, endorsements and making money. And to what ends? To keep Adrian Chiles in pies?!

But it isn’t just Chilesy who’s got on my tits lately, Clive Tyldesley really, really irked me last night during the Brazil-North Korea match, in which he screamed out loud that Maicon’s goal “came off the keeper... must’ve been deflected off the keeper... a really lucky deflection”, thus ruining the moment.

As you’ll no doubt have seen, and can see again below, the best goal of South Africa 2010 went clean in (try not to smash the screen when you hear Tyldesley’s shrieks):

There’s also Kevin Keegan, who described England’s performance against the USA as “brilliant” and said we “should have won 4-1”; not that we should’ve been surprised of course, given his “I’d love if we beat them, love it” rant and punditry during France ’98, saying “only one team’s gonna win now” - following Michael Owen’s equaliser against Romania - and, when asked if David Batty would score in the shoot-out against Argentina, screaming “yes!”.

Then, there’s fatty Corden. Enough. Said.

However, in the interests of balance, let me remind you that the BBC haven’t had a flawless World Cup themselves... :P

Back to the Robbie Earle story, and the whole ambush marketing angle with the orange-clad blondes promoting Dutch brewers Bavaria, and we get on to the subject of the increasing commercialisation and ‘official commercial partners’, ‘official event partners’, ‘official global partners’ that pop up at the biggest sporting events.

In 2004, during the ICC Champions Trophy, the powers that be even went as far as to ban spectators from taking in packs of the wrong kind of crisps or soft drink or wearing the wrong coloured t-shirt. Though they relaxed the insane regulations through the course of the tournament, the damage had been done, with cricket fans afraid of bringing Walkers crisps or Coca-Cola cans into the ground.

Still, at least today provided us with the first major shock of the World Cup, Spain falling to Switzerland, even though the day ended disappointingly with South Africa getting thumped by Uruguay. We can but hope the tournament, and ITV’s coverage, improve dramatically over the next 25 days.

World Cup 2010 wallchart


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