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Series / Match of the Day

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Yes, the Match of the Day, it's the only way
To spend your Saturday"
Genesis, "Match of the Day"

Match of the Day, often abbreviated as MOTD, is the BBC's primary football (soccer) television programme, usually shown late on Saturday evenings on BBC One throughout the duration of the English football season. It shows highlights of all the day's Premier League football matches followed by the presenter and pundits discussing their views and opinions on the games, teams and players. It is notable for being one of the BBC's longest-running shows; having been broadcast (although not always as a regular) since 1964.

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It is currently presented by the retired ex-footballer Gary Lineker and features pundits who are also ex-footballers, most notably Alan Hansen, Mark Lawrenson, Danny Murphy, Micah Richards, Alan Shearer and Ian Wright. Dan Walker of BBC Breakfast and sports anchorwoman Gabby Logan occasionally present the show when Lineker isn't available. It's notably more straight-faced and serious than its nearest Sky Sports equivalent, Soccer Saturday.

It also has a sister show, appropriately called Match of the Day 2 since it is shown on BBC Two every Sunday evening. This show covers matches played on the Sunday as well as featuring all the goals from the previous day's games, has different presenters and pundits (the presenter, Mark Chapman — not that one — is a journalist rather than an ex-footballer),but retains the same format as the main programme. That said, MOTD2 has a more jocular and irreverent tone, including a concluding segment rounding up various amusing images caught on camera at the various grounds over the weekend. Once a month, it does a "Goal of the Month" segment, in which the public vote for the best goal from a selection of the best goals that month. In one example, the public unanimously voted for terminally ill six year old Sunderland fan and de facto mascot Bradley Lowery's 'goal' (he got to take a pre-match penalty, and the goalkeeper theatrically dived the wrong way).

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Another sister show is MOTDx, a youth-oriented magazine show which replaced The Premier League Show in 2019. Also related are Football Focus (the Saturday lunchtime magazine show which previews the day's matches) and Final Score (the late Saturday afternoon football results show). Between the 2009-10 and 2014-15 seasons, the main Saturday evening show was followed by a junior cousin, The Football League Show, which featured goals and analysis from the three divisions (below the Premier League) of the Football League.

There is also Match of the Day Live, which the show becomes when the BBC is showing a live match.

MOTD has been temporarily retired on occasions when rival network ITV has outbid the BBC for the rights to top-division coverage, as was the case between 1988-92 and 2001-04. ITV's The Premiership covered the latter period and was widely regarded as inferior — in particular because it watered down the tactical analysis in order to show adverts, but also because a decision to broadcast it earlier on Saturday evenings was poorly received. As a result, the BBC was able to regain the rights at the next opportunity and appears likely to keep them for the foreseeable future.

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For the 2013-14 Premier League season, NBC Sports Group, who had taken the U.S. television rights to the Premier League from ESPN and Fox Sports, started its own Match of the Day and Match of the Day 2 programs to review Saturday and Sunday action in the league. This version is hosted by Rebecca Lowe, who once contributed to The BBC's versions of MOTD and MOTD2, with analysis from another pair of former Premier League players Robbie Earle and Robbie Mustoe, plus former U.S. national Kyle Martino. Lineker contributed to this version, as well as serving as an on-site host for any big matches airing on NBC or NBCSN, until the 2015-16 season, when he added hosting BT Sport's coverage of the UEFA Champions League to his plate, leading him to giving up his American duties. Daily Mail columnist Neil Ashton also contributes to the show. The theme song for the American edition is a catchy rock version of the more orchestral Premier League on NBC theme that is used for live matches.


Tropes:

  • Astronomic Zoom: Match of the Day does this to introduce a game, zooming in from "geostationary orbit over Britain" to "Goodyear Blimp cruising over the stadium in question" in a second or so.
  • Chromosome Casting: The main presenter and the pundits are all men. However, in recent years women have featured on the show - Gabby Logan occasionally presents it when Gary Lineker's away, and there are now female commentators like Jacqui Oatley and Vicki Sparks.
  • Getting Crap Past the Radar: Prior to 2011, whenever he had the opportunity to mention the name of Leicester City's ground, Gary Lineker did so. It's called the Walkers Stadium, and Lineker advertises Walkers crisps on ITV; before 2011, the BBC did not allow any form of product placement, to the point of blurring logos on products that were incidentally present even if the manufacturer had not paid for them to be there.
  • Long Runner: Match of the Day started in 1964, and it's been around in some form ever since. Despite its longevity, it's only had five main presenters - Kenneth Wolstenholme (1964–1967), David Coleman (1967–1973), Jimmy Hill (1973–1988), Des Lynam (1988–1999) and Gary Lineker (since 1999).
  • Theme Tune: One of the most recognisable on British TV. Called "Match of the Day" (not "Off Side" as is sometimes thought), it was written for the BBC by Barry Stoller in 1970.
  • The X of Y: It's about a football match (or rather, matches) that happened on each broadcast day. Originally, it was just the one match but as technology advanced and the BBC could afford to send camera crews and a commentator to more grounds, the format was altered to allow for highlights of multiple games.

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