Vital Football

03/04 Season - In Review

03/04 Season - In Review
A summary of broadcasting rights, presenters, commentators and key moments from the 2003/04 season.

Broadcasting Rights

Barclaycard Premiership
66 live games on Sky Sports, usually Saturdays 12.30pm (including, for the first time, on the opening day), Sundays 4pm and Mondays 8pm, 40 live games on Premiership Plus, usually Sundays 2pm. Highlights of ITV on Saturdays and Mondays (one week going out at the brilliant time of 12.30am), but only very rarely on Sundays.

FA Cup
Rounds 1 and 2, one live match on BBC, Sunday 1pm, and one live match on Sky Sports, usually Saturday teatime. Rounds 3-6, two live matches on BBC, usually Saturday 5.30pm and Sunday 1pm, and two live matches on Sky, usually Saturday 12pm and Sunday 4pm. One semi-final live on each channel, both show final live

Carling Cup
Two live matches per round on Sky Sports, plus both semi-finals and the final. Regional highlights on ITV with the semi-finals and final getting networked highlights.

Nationwide Football League
Live games on Sky Sports. Terrestrial highlights on ITV with regional highlights shows, Nationwide League Extra and networked Play-Off Final highlights.

Champions League
New contract comes into force this season with ITV and Sky sharing rights. ITV show live matches on ITV1 and ITV2 on Tuesday, plus highlights, while Sky Sports show the rest.

Sky Sports show all matches on Wednesday with no ITV highlights - except in Scotland. This deal runs all the way through to the final, live on both channels. Rather oddly, one week during the first group stage, the BBC shows Man U and Celtic goals on Football Focus, then never again.

All over the place. Most rounds include a live game on BBC3 and at least one on Channel Five (with both showing highlights of the others). ITV2 grab some rights towards the end of the season and Southampton's one and only home match is live on Eurosport. Villareal vs Celtic on BBC3 starts coverage thirty seconds into the match, due to a 7pm kick-off. Final on BBC2 due to lack of British interest.

Competitive home matches live on BBC and Sky, friendlies live on Sky with highlights on BBC. Two away qualifiers this season, against Slovakia, live on the BBC and crucial final match against Turkey, live on Sky, which leads to much haggling over terrestrial highlights until ITV eventually sign a deal.

Other rights
SPL and Scottish League Cup continue to be shown on their respective channels, with the Old Firm games networked (although the last, a dead rubber, is simply the BBC Scotland coverage simulcast on the red button). BBC2 show African Cup of Nations again.

BBC1 show Wales European Championship play-off (both legs), Channel Five show Scotland's second leg against Holland. ITV2 also bizarrely show live coverage of all of Real Madrid's pre-season Asian tour as they're the first appearances of David Beckham.

Presenters and Commentators

Gary Lineker remains main presenter, with Ray Stubbs on Football Focus, Final Score and the lesser highlights shows. Mark Pougatch presents most of the BBC3 games and occasional highlights shows.

John Motson, Barry Davies, Steve Wilson and Simon Brotherton regular commentators, with Brotherton getting his first live matches including an Old Firm game and the Women's Cup Final, as well as the non-live FA Cup semi-final. Wilson commentates on Italy vs Wales, live on BBC2, while Davies does both legs of their Euro 2004 play-off.

Tony Gubba appears sporadically, including the Manchester derby in the FA Cup fifth round on Match of the Day. John Motson commentates on FA Cup Final, Barry Davies on UEFA Cup Final. Trevor Brooking is the main co-commentator until January - his last match in Yeovil vs Liverpool in the FA Cup Third Round - when he joins the FA and Mark Lawrenson takes over, with Mark Bright also doing a few matches.

Des Lynam presents Premiership highlights and live games, Gabby Logan presents On The Ball, occasional editions of The Premiership, ITV2 live games and Champions League highlights, but is absent for several weeks in the autumn to cover the Rugby World Cup, so Matt Smith takes on her duties as well as his regular role on the Monday Premiership and the awful ITV2 Beckhamfest.

Angus Scott continues to present The Goal Rush until it's axed in December while Jim Rosenthal concentrates on F1 and rugby. Nationwide League Extra continues to be linked out of vision. Regular ITV commentators are Clive Tyldesley, Peter Drury, Jon Champion and Guy Mowbray, with Peter Brackley making occasional appearances, as well as the regional lot in the League Cup.

Ron Atkinson main co-commentator until he quits in April, with Andy Townsend taking on his role for the rest of the season. Jim Beglin and, occasionally, David Pleat are the other co-commentators.

SkyRichard Keys now concentrates on Sunday Premiership, England and the Champions League, with Ian Payne joining to present Saturday and Monday Premiership games, and Marcus Buckland and George Gavin staying in their roles on Premiership Plus and Football League respectively.

Martin Tyler, Rob Hawthorne and Alan Parry continue on Premiership (the latter on Premiership Plus) and now Champions League games, with Ian Darke making his first domestic appearances for several years amidst hundreds of red button commentators. Around this season Alan Smith becomes Premier League number two co-commentator behind Andy Gray and Tony Cottee becomes Premiership Plus regular voice.

Channel Five
A new presenter in John Barnes, with Jonathan Pearce continuing as the main commentator, and John Helm and Tony Jones in support, while Bill Leslie does a couple of highlights commentaries. However, Pearce disappears towards the end of the season with John Helm doing Newcastle's UEFA Cup semi-final.

Writer:Steve Williams
Date:Thursday October 14 2010
Time: 3:32PM

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