Match of the Day (often abbreviated as MOTD or MotD) is the BBC's main footballtelevision programme. Typically, it is shown on BBC One on Saturday evenings during the English football season, showing highlights of the day's matches in English football's top division, the Premier League. It is one of the BBC's longest-running shows, having been on air since 22 August 1964, though it has not always been aired regularly. Match of the Day has been recognised by Guinness World Records as the longest-running football TV programme in the world. The programme is broadcast from MediaCityUK in Salford Quays on the banks of the Manchester Ship Canal in Greater Manchester.
Although the title was first used by the BBC for its Wimbledon tennis highlights programme in June 1964, the first football-related edition of Match of the Day was screened on BBC2 on 22 August 1964, and showed highlights of a game between Liverpool and Arsenal at Anfield. The programme's audience was estimated at only 20,000, less than half of the attendance at the ground.
Match of the Day was not universally welcomed in the football world; in 1965 several clubs attempted to block a renewedDEAL with the BBC in fear of a drop in gate attendances at matches. Eventually a compromise was reached where the BBC agreed not to reveal which match was to be shown until after the day's play had concluded. The first colour edition of Match of the Day was shown on 15 November 1969, between Liverpooland West Ham United.
Slow motion replays were first introduced in 1971. However, at the end of the decade the BBC lost a significant share of matches, with a new four-yearDEAL in 1979 splitting the rights between the BBC and ITV (ITV had originally won exclusive rights, but a ruling from the Office of Fair Trading ordered that the rights be split). Match of the Day was moved to Sunday afternoons for the 1980–81 and 1982–83 seasons.
In 1983, the programme reverted to being shown on Saturday night, although that year four broadcasts were lost due to industrial action. The season 1983–84 also saw the first Match of the Day Live broadcasts of First Division matches, beginning with Manchester United vs Tottenham Hotspur on 16 December – a Friday evening fixture. (This came some two months after the start of ITV's Big Match Live.)
As the 1980s progressed, Match of the Day focused more and more on the First Division. The final Fourth Division game to be on the programme, between Blackpool and York City, was shown on 4 February 1984. Coverage of the Second and Third Divisions dwindled until it was finally dropped in 1986. However, other competitions were shown; the League Cup Final was covered live for the first time by the BBC in 1985.
In 1988, an even more competitive scramble for TV rights meant that the BBC lost all rights for League football to ITV, although they retained rights for FA Cup and England matches,SHARED with satellite channel BSB. For the next four seasons, Match of the Day only appeared on FA Cup weekends.
On Saturday 15 April 1989, presenters Des Lynam, Jimmy Hill and commentator John Motson were present atHillsborough Stadium in Sheffield for the FA Cup Semi-Final between Liverpool and Nottingham Forest when 94 Liverpool fans lost their lives on the day (two more died in the following years, bringing the total to 96) in acrush at the Leppings Lane end of the ground which resulted in the match being abandoned after just six minutes. That night, on their return to the studio, the programme was devoted to the tragic events of the afternoon. The highlights of the other semi-final between Everton and Norwich City were never shown although the footage is kept in the BBC Archive.
League football highlights were not available to the BBC for a few years but MOTD returned in 1992, for the start of the Premier League era. Sky's emergence made the TV rights market more competitive, with the BBC losing European Cup matches after UEFA's revamping as the Champions League in 1993. In 1997, the BBC lost all live rights to the FA Cup meaning Match of the Day's live coverage was restricted to UEFA Cup and Cup Winners' Cup matches. However the BBC were still able to show Saturday evening highlights of FA Cup games. However things got much worse for the network when, in 2001, the Premier League awarded highlights rights to ITV in a three-year contract.
Match of the Day did not totally disappear; the same year the BBC regained full live coverage of the FA Cup and England's World Cup qualifying matches, as well as retaining UEFA Cup coverage. ITV's league highlights programme, The Premiership, fared poorly and, in 2004, Premier League highlights returned to the BBC with an innovative newDEAL. MOTD would show highlights of all the Premier League games played on a Saturday, with commentators at every ground. In addition, Match of the Day 2 was launched, which showed highlights of all the Sunday fixtures, and was presented by Adrian Chiles.
In 2009 the BBC announced they had retained their Premier League rights, allowing them to continue showing Match of the Day.
From the 2011–12 season a new web-only Match of the Day 3 programme was launched on Monday mornings as a light-hearted addition to Match of the Day 2. Although broadcast as a separate programme and with its own unique title, it is recorded immediately following the conclusion of Match of the Day 2 on Sunday night. In November 2011 the program moved to Salford from London to a brand new studio as part of the BBC's relocation north. At the start of 2012–13 season Match of the Day 2 moved to BBC One.
Current presenter, former England captain Gary Lineker, joined as a pundit in 1995 before becoming the main presenter after Lynam's departure in 1999. Ray Stubbs was the deputy presenter of the programme for 17 seasons, from 1992 to 2009. Current stand in hosts include Gabby Logan, Dan Walker, and Mark Chapman.
Criticisms aimed at MOTD are its format is tired and out of date compared to Sky's football coverage and new, more enthusiastic pundits are required with the atmosphere between the current presenter and pundits deemed "an old boy's club". In 2010, Wolverhampton Wanderers' American goalkeeperMarcus Hahnemann criticised the show for showing bias towards the bigger clubs in the Premier League, particularly Manchester United.
The BBC have purchased the rights to televise highlights of Premier League matches. In 2012 the BBC signed a three-year extension to their agreement which expires in 2015/16 season at a cost of £179.7m. BBC director of sport Barbara Slater said that "The new contract will see MOTD celebrate its 50th birthday". In January 2015, the BBC extended thisDEAL until the end of the 2018-19 Premier League season.
The current theme tune for the series is called "Match of the Day" and was written especially for the programme in 1970 by Barry Stoller. It has become so ubiquitous in British culture that it is associated not just with the programme but football in general.
Stoller's brief was simply to write "something good"; the short closing fanfare occurred to him first. "Those fanfare harmonies give the music a gladiator feel," he wrote in 2014, "akin to entering the ancient games arena in Rome with all its expectations." The tune was recorded by him, a drummer and a trumpeter in the basement recording studio of his home. In May 2010 PRS for Music revealed that the Match of the Day theme tune is the most recognisable in the UK.
The theme is often incorrectly labelled "Offside", the name of an alternative commercially-released 1970 version, conducted by Mike Vickers. The original theme tune, entitled "Drum Majorette", was written by Major Leslie Statham, the band leader of the Welsh Guards under the pen-name 'Arnold Stock'.
Between 1995 and 1999, the BBC broadcast Match of the Seventies (1995–96), Match of the Eighties (1997) and Match of the Nineties (1999). Each series acted as a chronological review of seasons through each decade, presented in a slightly off-beat style, and relied heavily on footage originally included in Match of the Day broadcasts. Presenters included Dennis Waterman, Danny Baker, Mark Radcliffe and Marc Riley.
From the 2009–10 season onwards, the BBC have picked up the rights to all Football League highlights and up until 2011–12, ten live Championship games and three live League Cup games. Live games were broadcast under the Match of the Day Live banner but highlights are shown on a new programme named The Football League Show (or, for League Cup games, The League Cup Show).