Gary Lineker jabs at ITV over Euro 2024 viewing figures as BBC star discusses rivalry

Gary Lineker has opened up about the rivalry between the BBC and ITV when it comes to showing football – and has claimed the Beeb 'do it better'.

Both broadcasters are taking on hosting duties throughout Euro 2024, and speaking on The Rest is Football podcast with Micah Richards, the pair got on to the subject of the historic friction between the two channels. Ex-Manchester City defender Richards then began to probe the Match of the Day host on just what propels the fierce competition between the two.

"How many watched on the BBC? Do you know? Have you got the figures? What is this rivalry between ITV and BBC," Richards asked regarding the BBC showing England's 1-0 win over Serbia on Sunday night. Lineker then revealed he no longer thinks about viewing figures.

However he does keep an eye on how many tune in for the final of major tournaments. Both channels have the rights to televise the showpiece.

"For me, I got over that a long time ago," Lineker said. "I don't really care as we alternate games between us, and obviously there is a bit of rivalry, because we're competitive people, but how do you judge that?" He added: "Do you judge it by the amount of people who watch a game? Because if England are playing then you get more viewers and they're only on one channel and everyone will watch it regardless of whether it's on the BBC or ITV."

The ex-Leicester and England striker admitted he still feels a tinge of ambition over which channel brings in the most viewers for a major tournament final. He claimed: "I got over that a long time ago but there is one thing, both BBC and ITV both show the final. We are sporting people, we are competitive so that is a little competition but it's not important."

gary lineker jabs at itv over euro 2024 viewing figures as bbc star discusses rivalry

Gary Lineker, Rio Ferdinand, Cesc Fabregas and Micah Richards

Richards then interjected, playing down the feud alluding to his fellow pundits and friends plying their trade on ITV, adding: "We do like ITV though don't we? With Keano (Roy Keane) and Wrighty (Ian Wright) – we don't need to have that rivalry."

Lineker concurred and was complimentary about his bitter rivals, but not before adding a brutal hammer blow to ensure the competition between the pair still bubbles along nicely. "They're really good," the former Everton forward said of ITV, before adding: "English television does football very well, ITV do it brilliantly – we do it slightly better."

gary lineker jabs at itv over euro 2024 viewing figures as bbc star discusses rivalry

Ian Wright and Roy Keane speak as they present on ITV Sport

Lineker would have counted the World Cup final in Qatar 2022 as a small victory for the BBC, with the channel getting the lion's share of viewers for the fixture. It is estimated 20million people watched December’s final between Argentina and France in the UK, with a peak audience of 14.9 million tuning into BBC One’s coverage, while 4.3 million settled for ITV.

A peak audience of 15million people watched the BBC’s coverage of England vs Serbia on BBC One on Sunday night. The match was also streamed 3.5million times on BBC iPlayer, and there was an average audience of 10.5million, which resulted in a 60% share. The BBC will also show England’s second Group D match against Denmark, with ITV showing the final group-stage match against Slovenia.

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