Happy Birthday ITV! Sport Through The Years…

And so, ITV is 60 years old today.  I just wanted to write about some of their sports coverage over the years, I think it deserves a mention.

One of my earliest sporting memories is watching the Mike Tyson fights with my Dad.  He had a 3 hour VHS tape, with each Tyson fight back to back.

The above is an extract from ITV’s coverage of Tyson/Spinks from June 27th 1988 – an era before pay-per-view – if there was a big fight, you would see it for free.  Boxing has recovered slightly in recent years on terrestrial TV but the main attractions are long gone to free-to-air television.

Another memory has to be Saint and Greavsie… ITV’s late 80’s answer to ‘Football Focus’.

The episode above is from April 14th 1990 – it’s brilliant to see again. Another great clip is from ITV’s ‘The Match’ – this extract below is from the 1989/90 season… when ITV broadcast live First Division games.  Sadly this ended in 1992 when Sky Sports acquired live coverage of the all new Premier League.

I grew up in Granadaland and I have fond memories of Granada Soccer Night.  When I first got my own video recorder, I’d stay up, and try to create my own highlights by starting to record the show, then pausing it and re-starting the recording as I saw fit.  Normally, I just ended up with a big messy recording – it was before the days of Windows Movie Maker!

ITV of course have had UEFA Champions League coverage since it started and it’s only in the 2015/16 season that they lost their live coverage to BT Sport (highlights remain).  Here’s an extract from the 1994/95 with Bob Wilson presenting – brilliant footage.

From Football to regional TV.  ITV worked best, in my opinion, when it had a regional network – all making programmes to bring to the network.

Think this programme stayed on regional TV only in the Yorkshire area, but it’s achieved cult status.  Fred Trueman here with Yorkshire TV’s ‘Indoor League’, devised by Sid Waddell who went on to be a legendary darts commentator for Sky Sports.  Indoor League Series 1 and 2 are now available to buy courtesy of Network DVD.

Great memories – happy birthday ITV!


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