ITV Sport Channel
|ITV Sport Channel|
|Launched||11 August 2001|
|Closed||30 April 2002|
|Owned by||Carlton Communications (50%)
Granada plc (50%)
Availability at time of closure
|ITV Digital||Channel 20|
ITV Sport Channel was a digital sport television channel, that was owned by Carlton Communications and Granada plc. It was launched on 11 August 2001 and closed on 30 April 2002, following ITV Digital's collapse over a month later. ITV Sport Channel had 2 sister channels, ITV Sport Plus and ITV Sport Select.
Matt Smith, Tony Dorigo, Russell Osman, John Hendrie, Garry Nelson, Guy Havord, Guy Mowbray, Peter Drury, Jon Champion, David Fairclough, Paul Walsh, Jim Beglin, Simon Hill, Peter Stevenson, Carrie Frais, Lisa Rogers and Dave Beckett commentated for the channel.
There were two spin-off channels, ITV Sport Plus and ITV Sport Select, the latter used to show the on-demand Premier League football matches from Sky Sports. Whilst football was the mainstay of the channel - other football on the channel included UEFA Champions League and the League Cup - it also showed tennis (ATP Masters Series), British basketball and had secondary rights to European Cup rugby union.
The cost of the Football League deal proved one too many a burden for ITV Digital, and it was placed into administration on 27 March 2002, after the League refused to accept a £130m pay cut in its £315m deal with the ITV Sport Channel. Most subscription channels ceased broadcasting on ITV Digital on 1 May 2002. The collapse caused severe financial difficulties for lower-division football clubs who had budgeted for large incomes from the television contract.2
The Football League sued ITV Digital's parent companies, Carlton and Granada, claiming that the firms had breached their contract in failing to deliver the guaranteed income. The League lost the case, with the judge ruling that it had "failed to extract sufficient written guarantees". The League then filed a negligence claim against its lawyers for failing to press for a written guarantee at the time of the deal with ITV Digital. This time it was awarded a paltry £4 in damages of the £150m it was seeking.