Match of the Day: Audience peaked at 2.8m after BBC Lineker row while ITV’s Six Nation coverage tops 5m
Two million viewers tuned in to watch Match Of The Day (MOTD) Live after Gary Lineker’s return to the BBC.
The corporation said the coverage of the FA Cup quarter-final on Saturday, which was hosted by the 62-year-old presenter, saw an average of 2.1 million viewers based on overnight figures.
An audience peak of 2.8 million people also watched the show, which featured analysis from pundits Alan Shearer and Micah Richards.
Manchester City beat Burnley 6-0 as the programme aired on BBC One from 5.25pm to 7.55pm.
The coverage aired at a similar time as the Six Nations Championship on ITV1 from 4.30pm to 7.15pm.
According to ITV, an average of 4.3 million people watched Ireland beat England to clinch the Grand Slam win with a 29-16 victory.
The audience also peaked at 5.3 million viewers, based on overnight figures.
MOTD without Lineker… because of a cold
Later in the evening, football highlights programme MOTD at 10.30pm, hosted by Mark Chapman on BBC One, averaged two million viewers across its 75 minutes on-air with a peak of 2.5 million according to the BBC.
The BBC show had an average audience of 2.6 million last Saturday when it aired for only 20 minutes and did not include presenters or even its famous theme tune – instead broadcasting only short highlight clips of the day’s matches.
A total of 2.1 million viewers tuned in on Saturday March 4 – before Lineker was asked to step down over a tweet comparing the language used to launch a new Government asylum seeker policy with 1930s Germany – according to overnight figures.
On Sunday, BBC Sport announced that Lineker will not host the coverage of FA Cup quarter-final between Brighton & Hove Albion and Grimsby Town following the former England striker’s voice having “deteriorated overnight”.
Instead, former England player and presenter Alex Scott will step up to present MOTD Live on BBC One from 1.50pm instead.
Press Association – Charlotte McLaughlin