Live Football Broadcast
The world’s most popular sport is football. It’s a simple game that can be played pretty much anywhere in the world, and its popularity has only increased over the years.
NBC “Sunday Night Football” has been the most-watched TV show since people meters were introduced in 1987. This year the network has expanded its SkyCam technology to include dual cameras.
The BBC’s first televised football game
With the football season underway, the BBC decided to try out live television coverage of a League match. This was the first time that a live Division One game had been shown on British television.
Although the Beeb had been showing highlights of league games on a Saturday evening since 1955, this was their first attempt at live action. It was a short programme, but at least it proved that football could work on the small screen.
Kenneth Wolstenholme stood pitchside and introduced the broadcast with a song called “She Loves You.” Liverpool blew Arsenal away with goals from Roger Hunt, Gordon Wallace, and Geoff Strong. The match was watched by an estimated audience of 20,000 people. This was the first match to be televised in colour as well.
The birth of Match of the Day
Match of the Day is the BBC’s football highlights programme. It first aired in 1964 and is now the longest-running show of its type on British television.
The show has been criticised by many famous players, including Rio Ferdinand and Stan Collymore, for being boring and out-of-date. It is also sometimes accused of favouring big teams over smaller ones.
However, the show has been improving recently. It moved to a new studio in Salford in 2011 and has had a number of high-profile pundits join the team. Manish Bhasin, Robbie Savage and Martin Keown are among the most notable to have joined the panel of presenters and pundits on the show. MOTD has also gained a sister programme, Match of the Day 2, to air on Sunday nights.
The first Premier League game to be shown live on TV
In February 2020, the Premier League signed a deal with Nordic entertainment company Viaplay Group worth in the region of PS2billion for exclusive rights to broadcast its games in Denmark, Finland, Norway and Sweden. The rights cover all 380 matches, including live games on Saturday afternoons and two midweek fixtures programmes.
In the UK, the current TV rights cycle covers 2022-23 and includes 200 live games. Sky Sports dominates the rights, with packages B, C, D and E – which equate to 128 live Premier League games per season – while BT Sport (rebranded as TNT Sports) has a smaller package of 52 games.
NBC US has Premier League rights until 2028, with many of those games available to stream on its new platform Peacock. Fans in the United States can watch all 380 live games on various platforms.
The first game to be televised in colour
It’s now taken for granted that football games are shown in colour, but back in 1951 NBC made history by broadcasting the first game to be televised in this format. The game was a college game between Penn and California and, although the Quakers were walloped, it did kickstart a trend for broadcasters to embrace colour.
This was largely thanks to the work of Scottish inventor John Baird, who had developed a system which used dots to separate red and blue colours for transmission over monochrome TV tubes. Despite this, few televisions were capable of receiving the signal, and NBC broadcast only two games in colour before dropping the idea.
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The first game to be televised in real time
The first football game to be televised in real time took place on October 8, 1921. It was broadcast on KDKA in Pittsburgh, PA and helped to turn college football into a national obsession.
The New York Times noted that Fordham coach “Sleepy Jim” Crowley was annoyed by the fact that his team’s victory over Waynesburg would be broadcast on TV and he thought his players were looking past it. Bill Stern, the famed radio announcer of the time, called the game, and though TV wasn’t ideal for his habit of exaggeration and dramatization, the seeds were planted.
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