Olympics on ITV

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Olympics on ITV

Post by Brock »

It's so natural to think of the Olympics as a "BBC" event these days that it's easy to forget that it was originally one of the listed non-exclusive events, and that ITV covered it alongside the BBC in 1968, 1972, 1980 and 1988 - though not 1976, according to this Guardian article:
The Guardian wrote:In 1976 ITV abandoned its plans for the Montreal Games, after the IBA – then the commercial TV regulator – asked the BBC governors for a form of alternation in coverage, only for the BBC management to speak of "total war".
(Wasn't that the year that BBC1 incorporated the Olympic rings into its "globe" ident and smugly declared itself "the Olympic channel"?)

Then in 1984, ITV decided to cancel its coverage of the Olympic Games in Los Angeles, at a few weeks' notice as I recall. But this wasn't due to a dispute with the BBC, or even industrial action (as Wikipedia claims), but simply because they couldn't afford it:
But ITV's decision not to cover the Los Angeles Games in 1984 was key to the decision to withdraw from the Olympics altogether. It was about cost and commercial returns. The official history of ITV records "extraordinary demands made for working overseas" from heavily unionised technicians. Camera crews travelled first class, received daily allowances, expected first class hotels – a disincentive on ITV companies to authorise any shooting overseas.
I remember the hastily drawn-up schedules in the TV Times, including the US sci-fi miniseries "V". At the time it seemed quite an extraordinary decision.

Has there been another example of a broadcaster committing itself to cover a sporting event and then voluntarily pulling out of it?

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Re: Olympics on ITV

Post by Duncan »

ITV and then the BBC with Formula 1 maybe?

Didn’t the BBC also withdraw from covering the Open recently, whilst it still held the rights?

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Re: Olympics on ITV

Post by JezR »

Bit odd that the article doesn't mention the 1964 Summer Olympics at all, where in a number of respects the ITV coverage was more extensive - as well as expensive - than the BBC coverage. ATV and the ITA were heavily involved with the EBU in the planning of the various methods used to get pictures and sound back to Europe (three-hour VT by air and double-hop satellite). The underwater cable that was supposed to take the sound was broken by a fishing trawler and whilst the BBC fell back to Norris McWhirter in London, ITV flew recordings of onsite commentary to Hawaii.

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Re: Olympics on ITV

Post by Mark »

I can remember ITV screening the American mini-series, "Rich Man Poor Man" in 76, did well in the ratings IIRC.
"A cup of Tea....Tea...Tea"

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