Match of the Day

Match of the Day (abbreviated to MOTD) is a "football highlights and analysis" programme, typically broadcast on BBC One on Saturday evenings, during the Premier League season.[4][1] The show's current presenter is former England international striker Gary Lineker.

Match of the Day
Match of the Day.png
Also known asMOTD
GenreFootball highlights and analysis[1]
Presented byCurrent:

Gary Lineker (1999–present)

Mark Chapman
Gabby Logan
Dan Walker

Des Lynam (1988–1999)
Jimmy Hill (1973–1988)
David Coleman (1967–1973)

Kenneth Wolstenholme (1964–1967)
StarringPredominant analysts:
(2021–22 season)
Alan Shearer
Martin Keown
Danny Murphy
Micah Richards
Ian Wright
Jermaine Jenas
Voices ofPredominant commentators:
(2021–22 season)
Steve Bower
Simon Brotherton
Guy Mowbray
Jonathan Pearce
Steve Wilson
Conor McNamara
Theme music composerBarry Stoller[2]
Opening themeMatch of the Day theme
Country of originUnited Kingdom
Original languageEnglish
No. of series51
No. of episodesOver 5,000
ProducerColm Harty
Production locationsStudio TC5, BBC Television Centre (1964–2011)
dock10 studios (2011–present)[3]
EditorRichard Hughes
Camera setupMulti-camera
Running timeLive: 160–210 minutes
Highlights: 60–105 minutes
Production companyBBC Sport
Original network
Picture format1080i (HDTV)
Original release22 August 1964 (1964-08-22) –
Related shows

It is one of the BBC's longest-running shows, having been on air since 22 August 1964.[5] In 2015, Guinness World Records recognised it "as the longest-running football television programme in the world."[6] The show's theme tune was voted the most recognised TV theme tune in a 2010 poll conducted by the PRS.[5]



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 BBC Two 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.[7]

Match of the Day was not universally welcomed in the football world; in 1965 several clubs attempted to block a renewed deal with the BBC in fear of a drop in gate attendances at matches.[8] 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 on BBC 1 was shown on 15 November 1969, where it featured a game between Liverpool and West Ham United. However, the very first colour edition was shown on 2 November 1968 on BBC 2 when a game between Chelsea and Manchester City was featured (BBC 2 was transmitted on 625 lines capable of showing colour).[8][9]

1970s and 1980sEdit

Slow motion replays were first introduced in 1969.[7] However, at the end of the decade the BBC lost a significant share of matches, with a new four-year deal 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[9]). 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.[7] 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.

1990s and 2000sEdit

League football highlights were not available to the BBC from 1988 as ITV had exclusive rights, though the programme remained on air for the FA Cup as Match of the Day: The Road to Wembley. League football returned in 1992, for the start of the Premier League era.[8] 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 1992, although it did broadcast the 1994 final between A.C. Milan and FC Barcelona. In 1997, the BBC lost all live rights to the FA Cup meaning the programme's live coverage was restricted to the UEFA Cup and Cup Winners' Cup matches, the latter competition becoming defunct in 1999. However, the BBC were still able to show Saturday evening highlights of FA Cup games. A significant change occurred in 2001 when the Premier League awarded highlights rights to ITV in a three-year contract.[10] Between 2001 and 2004, the Match of the Day brand was used for the BBC's live football coverage and the network had earned some consolation in losing by managing to regain live terrestrial coverage of the FA Cup and England internationals for that period.

Rights for UEFA Champions League qualifiers, which are held by the home team and fall outside the rights for the competition proper, were obtained on an ad hoc basis for English teams in this period, which is currently the case for the BBC with Scottish and Northern Irish teams. Both legs of Manchester United's 2002–03 third round qualifying matches against Zalaegerszeg were shown live on the BBC.[11]

In August 2003, it was announced that from the 2004–05 season, Premier League highlights were returning to the BBC and a revived MOTD.[12] In addition, Match of the Day 2 was launched, which showed highlights of the increasing number of Sunday fixtures, and was initially presented by Adrian Chiles.[8]

In 2009, the BBC announced they had retained their Premier League rights, allowing them to continue showing Match of the Day until 2013.[13]


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, Match of the Day moved from London to a brand new studio in Dock10, MediaCityUK as part of BBC Sport's relocation north, this allowed the programme to be recorded in high-definition.[14] At the start of 2012–13 season Match of the Day 2 moved to BBC One.[15]

Upon regaining the FA Cup rights in 2014, highlights from the early and later rounds of the competition were given their own separate programme instead of being broadcast on an extended Match of the Day straight after the Premier League highlights, as it was before the BBC last lost the rights in 2008.[16][17] Highlights of the latter rounds occasionally sequence from the Premier League highlights, as they did until the previous decade, but both segments are considered separate programmes.[18][19]


During the COVID-19 pandemic and the postponement of the 2019–20 Premier League season, Match of the Day split into a televised podcast called Match of the Day: Top 10 Podcast in which Gary Lineker and the pundits discussed and ranked certain roles from the start of the Premier League in 1992 (such as Top 10 Goalkeepers) and Match of their Day which featured a pundit picking three of their favourite Premier League matches.[20][21] Upon its resumption, the BBC broadcast four games live. Bournemouth versus Crystal Palace became the first Premier League game shown live on one of the five main terrestrial channels, and the BBC's first live top-flight English football match since 1987–88.[22] A further 8 games were shown live during the 2020–21 season.[23]


The Programme was broadcast from TC5 at BBC Television Centre from 1964-2012

Ahead of the 2019–20 Premier League season, BBC Sport upgraded the studio that Match of the Day, Match of the Day 2, Football Focus, and Final Score broadcasts from.

The facility uses a "4K UHD ready virtual reality studio." It uses Epic Games' Unreal Engine 4 rendering technology.

Filming is located at the Dock10 studios at MediaCityUK in Salford.[24]

Presenters, analysts, and commentatorsEdit

Despite the programme's long running status there have only been five regular main presenters: Kenneth Wolstenholme (1964–1967), David Coleman (1967–1973), Jimmy Hill (1973–1988), Des Lynam (1988–1999) and Gary Lineker (since 1999). Lineker had worked as an analyst during his predecessor Des Lynam's tenure. Mark Chapman, Gabby Logan, and Dan Walker have stood in for Lineker.

The predominant analysts for the 2021–22 season are: Alan Shearer, Jermaine Jenas, Martin Keown, Danny Murphy, Micah Richards, and Ian Wright. Each live show typically features three analysts; highlights shows usually have two analysts.[25]

Match of the Day uses a selection of BBC and freelance commentators, including: Guy Mowbray, Steve Wilson, Jonathan Pearce, Steve Bower, Simon Brotherton, Conor McNamara, Vicki Sparks, Alistair Mann, Martin Fisher, Mark Scott, John Roder, Chris Wise, Robyn Cowen, Steven Wyeth, and Ben Andrews.

In April 2007, it was announced that Jacqui Oatley was to become the first woman to commentate on the programme.[8][26]

Previous commentators have included: Walley Barnes, Frank Bough, David Coleman, Jon Champion, Barry Davies, Tony Gubba, Stuart Hall, John Motson, Alan Parry, Idwal Robling, Gerald Sinstadt, Clive Tyldesley, Alan Weeks, and Kenneth Wolstenholme.

In August 2014, the BBC announced that as part of the show's 50th anniversary celebrations, Barry Davies would return to commentate for one last time.[27][28]


In 2010, Wolverhampton Wanderers' goalkeeper Marcus Hahnemann criticised the show for showing bias towards the bigger clubs in the Premier League, particularly Manchester United.[29]

Premier League broadcast rightsEdit

2019–20 to 2021–22 seasonsEdit

In January 2018, the Premier League announced that it had awarded the UK highlights to BBC Sport. The rights cost £211.5 million and covers three seasons from 2019–20.

The January 2018 agreement also includes Match of the Day 2, Match of the Day 2 Extra, Match of the Day Kickabout, Football Focus, Final Score, and The Premier League Show.[30]

Theme musicEdit

The current theme tune for the series is titled "Match of the Day". It was composed for the programme in 1970 by Barry Stoller, and was used for the first time on 15 August 1970. Ironically, Stoller himself admitted that he is not a football fan.[citation needed]

Stoller's brief was simply to write "something good"; the short closing fanfare occurred to him first.[31] "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 trumpeter, and a drummer (Stuart Vincent) in the basement recording studio of his home.[2] In May 2010, PRS for Music revealed that the Match of the Day theme tune is the most recognisable in the UK.[32]

The theme is often incorrectly labelled "Off Side", the group name used by musician Mike Vickers, for an alternative 1970 version of Stoller's tune, which was released as a 45 rpm gramophone single on the Pye label (7N 25534),[9] The original theme tune, entitled "Drum Majorette", was written by Major Oleen Wrigley, the band leader of the Welsh Guards under the pen-name 'Arnold Stock'.[9][33]

Related showsEdit

Match of the Day AnnualEdit

A Match of the Day Annual book is also produced.[36]


  1. ^ a b "BBC One - Match of the Day". BBC.
  2. ^ a b Stoller, Barry (22 August 2014). "Match Of The Day At 50: My iconic theme even has a banjo". Love TV. BBC. Retrieved 16 September 2018.
  3. ^ "The Studios Manchester MediaCityUK".
  4. ^ "BBC's Match of the Day marks 50 years as an institution of English football". The Guardian. Retrieved 12 November 2021.
  5. ^ a b "Match of the Day begins". BBC. Retrieved 12 November 2021.
  6. ^ "Match of the Day named world's longest-running football show". BBC Sport. Retrieved 31 March 2018.
  7. ^ a b c "History of Match of the Day". BBC Sport. 14 February 2003. Retrieved 26 July 2013.
  8. ^ a b c d e "Match of the Day: 50 years of broadcasting celebration". BBC Sport. 20 August 2014. Retrieved 29 January 2015.
  9. ^ a b c d "MOTD through the ages". BBC Sport. 3 August 2004. Retrieved 12 May 2010.
  10. ^ "BBC 'sour' over football deal". BBC News. 15 June 2000. Retrieved 29 January 2015.
  11. ^ Henderson, Jon (4 August 2002). "Beeb muscle in on United action". The Guardian. London. Retrieved 28 August 2018.
  12. ^ "Premiership back on the BBC". BBC Sport. 8 August 2003. Retrieved 24 March 2016.
  13. ^ "BBC retains Premier League rights". BBC Sport. 28 January 2009.
  14. ^ "BBC". MediaCityUK. Retrieved 29 January 2015.
  15. ^ "Match of the Day 2 moves to BBC One". Premier League. 5 July 2012. Retrieved 29 January 2015.
  16. ^ "Match of the Day". BBC Programmes. 1 December 2007. Retrieved 31 December 2015.
  17. ^ "FA Cup 2014–15: How to follow on the BBC". BBC Sport. 4 November 2014. Retrieved 31 December 2015.
  18. ^ "Match of the Day". BBC Programmes. 11 March 2017. Retrieved 8 August 2017.
  19. ^ "The FA Cup". BBC Programmes. 11 March 2017. Retrieved 8 August 2017.
  20. ^ "Match of the Day returns with Premier League highlights this weekend". Radio Times.
  21. ^ "BBC One HD - Schedules, Saturday 4 April 2020". BBC.
  22. ^ "Premier League fixtures: BBC to show Bournemouth v Crystal Palace, Norwich v Everton". BBC Sport. 5 June 2020. Retrieved 1 September 2020.
  23. ^ "A record-breaking season". Premier League. Retrieved 23 January 2022.
  24. ^ Dams, Tim. "Match of the Day moves into dock10's VR studio".
  25. ^ "BBC One - Match of the Day - Episode guide". BBC.
  26. ^ "'Match of the Day' gets first woman commentator". Reuters. 19 April 2007. Retrieved 16 September 2018. Jacqui Oatley, 32, will make television history when she picks up the microphone for the BBC's flagship football show at the Premier League game between Fulham and Blackburn.
  27. ^ "Match of the Day (1964– ) Full Cast & Crew". IMDb. Retrieved 29 January 2015.
  28. ^ "Barry Davies returns to Match of the Day commentary box". BBC Sport. 21 August 2014.
  29. ^ Laughlin, Andrew (20 September 2010). "Wolves keeper hits out at MOTD coverage". Digital Spy. Hachette Filipacchi UK. Retrieved 16 September 2018. According to Mirror Football, the American keeper is boycotting the BBC's Match Of The Day programme in protest at its portrayal of his team. Hahnemann claims that Wolves are always pushed down to the latter games shown on the Saturday night show, rather than being given top billing.
  30. ^ "Premier League awards UK highlights to BBC Sport (2019-2022)" (Press release). Premier League. Retrieved 16 September 2018.
  31. ^ "The story of the MOTD theme tune". BBC Sport.
  32. ^ Sayid, Ruki (11 May 2010). "Match of the Day voted the most recognisable theme tune on TV". Daily Mirror. London: Trinity Mirror. Retrieved 17 August 2013.
  33. ^ "What's the best ever BBC Sport theme tune?".
  34. ^ "Match of the Day". Press Office (Press release). BBC. 24 July 2004. Retrieved 31 March 2018.
  35. ^ "MOTDx". BBC. Retrieved 25 September 2020.
  36. ^ "Match of the Day Annual 2012: The Best Footy Annual! (Hardback)". BBC Shop. Retrieved 23 June 2012.

Further readingEdit

External linksEdit