Heading into any major tournament, a lot is said about the battle for ratings between ITV and the BBC.
While each network shows their own matches during the group stage and early knockout rounds, they go head-to-head in the final, with both showing the match simultaneously.
That’s why the first weeks of the tournament are almost an audition ahead of the final … who can impress and get the viewers their way to the big day?
Mark Pougatch (center left) and Seema Jaswal (center right) will present ITV’s Euro coverage, with commentary and craftsmanship from (left-right) Sam Matterface, Gary Neville, Robert Earnshaw, Graeme Souness, Eni Aluko, Ian Wright, Roy Keane, Emma Hayes and Ashley Cole
The BBC has also confirmed their broadcast lineup, with Gary Lineker (center) leading the coverage, with (left-right) Eilidh Barbour, Rio Ferdinand, Jermaine Jenas, Ashley Williams, Alan Shearer, Thierry Henry, Alex Scott, Gabby Logan, Micah Richards and Shelley Kerr have signed up
Both channels have now revealed their highly anticipated lineups, with Gary Lineker v. Mark Pougatch in the main presenters, while ITV’s Sam Matterface battles Guy Mowbray in the commentary box.
Of course, most of the focus is on the punditry teams, with both networks bringing out the big guns, while BT and Sky regulars jump to the terrestrial channels.
The likes of Gary Neville and Roy Keane will be on ITV, while Thierry Henry, Cesc Fabregas and Jurgen Klinsmann bring some European flair to the Beeb.
ITV has also advocated for a number of youngsters in their squad, with newcomer Andros Townsend swapping the talkSPORT towers for a Euro 2020 podcast show. Seema Jaswal was also responsible for news coverage and swapped her domestic duties with Premier League Productions for the international stage.
There’s a nice mix at the BBC too, with Lineker and the ever-reliable Mark Chapman joined by Gabby Logan and Eilidh Barbour at the football festival.
There’s a nice mix of youth there too, with up-and-coming superstars Micah Richards and Alex Scott being vital to their coverage, with the pair bound to bring in the younger viewers.
But who comes out best? Here, Sportsmail goes through different categories to see which of the major broadcasters are leading the way this summer.
From experience and humor to trophies won and on-screen chemistry, it’s time to find out if it’s ITV or the BBC that rules the airwaves …
Gary Lineker will once again be the BBC’s main man when it comes to the euro this summer
Let’s be clear, experience isn’t something missing from either roster on the way to this summer’s tournament. Starting with the big guns, Gary Lineker has presented Match of the Day – and at every major tournament – since 1999, while on ITV Mark Pougatch has also been on our screens since the late 1990s.
In terms of craftsmanship, Alan Shearer knows his way around a TV studio as he has been a regular MOTD since his retirement in 2006 and also accompanied Lineker to all the major English games.
On ITV, folks like Graeme Souness, Gary Neville and Roy Keane have all cut their clothes weekly at Sky Sports and need no help when it comes to voicing their thoughts on a massive football summer.
All in all, in terms of experience, the BBC just cut it with their solid backbone from Lineker and co. experts joining him for the tournament.
BBC – 09/10
ITV – 8/10
Ian Wright (C) is with ITV but Lineker (left) and Alan Shearer’s (right) experience helps the BBC
As much as we all love football, when it comes to the end of the first week of the tournament and trying to get excited about the BBC coverage of Finland v Russia at 2pm, there’s still a lot to say for a while . screen ‘tease’.
The tournament is of course a huge spectacle and viewers want to be entertained and just as well informed by the amazing lineups of experts.
That’s where the likes of Micah Richards, Ally McCoist and – whisper it – Roy Keane come in handy.
Richards’ infectious laugh and regular jokes with his colleagues have made him incredibly popular on Sky this season, and the BBC is hoping he can bring it back this summer – even without Keane, who is on the other team.
McCoist, meanwhile, has signed up for commentary duties at ITV and is hugely popular following his exploits at the 2018 World Cup alongside Jon Champion.
The keane Keane may come across as a tough man on and off the field, but his dry sense of humor is also evident during the season at Sky Sports.
It’s the BBC who lists it in this category, because of both Richards’ personality … and the fact that the notoriously serious Graeme Souness is at ITV.
BBC – 8/10
ITV – 7/10
Micah Richards’ infectious personality is a huge boost to the BBC line-up
The infamous Graeme Souness is one of the biggest names on the ITV panel this summer
Did I go through every expert’s Wikipedia page painstakingly counting every great honor they’ve ever won? Yes I have.
Hence, this section is a little easier to draw a conclusion … and the winner is: ITV. Aided en masse by Manchester United heroes Keane and Neville, they’ve won a whopping 198 trophies across the punditry squad, compared to the BBC’s meager 121.
ITV’s Souness is the big winner with 28 on his own, having won five league titles and three European Cups as a player with Liverpool, before moving north of the border a few years later to win seven titles as Rangers manager.
Admittedly, the BBC was not much helped by the ‘Honors’ section of Robbie Savage’s Wikipedia, which only lists his honorary doctorate from Wrexham Glyndwr University.
A shout-out to Alex Scott, who with 21 trophies is easily the most decorated of the Beeb experts, beating Ferdinand’s 14 and Fabregas ’15.
BBC – 7/10
ITV – 9/10
Alex Scott is the BBC’s most decorated pundit to have won 21 trophies in her career as a player
In reality, the BBC’s line-up is spotless and there are unlikely to be any major disagreements between the experts. Rio Ferdinand and Robbie Savage have been known to speak out in the past, but it’s over on ITV where the sparks are more likely to fly.
With Keane, Souness and Neville sharing the same radio waves, there will be plenty of arguments between the pundits, while Ian Wright and Lee Dixon aren’t against a fair amount of criticism when it comes to the Three Lions.
Perhaps most intriguing is the reunion of Vieira and Keane, 16 years after * that * Highbury bust-up. You know that one … “I’ll see you out there.”
Ally McCoist and Scott Brown’s screen sharing could also be interesting given their rivalry between Rangers and Celtic … and in reality, there’s not really anything on the BBC that screams ‘aggro’.
BBC – 5/10
ITV – 8/10
Keane (right) had a falling out with Patrick Vieira in a legendary bust-up in the Highbury tunnel in 2005
Vieira (second from left) was now able to share an ITV studio with his big rival Keane in midfield
Much of the on-screen chemistry is, of course, based on friendships and who’s worked together before. At the BBC, Lineker and Shearer team up as sausage and mash, after more than 15 years of presenting together.
Robbie Savage and Jermaine Jenas also know each other well, while Henry and Fabregas shared a dressing room at Arsenal for five years and are therefore likely to be matched when they appear together.
At ITV, the Sky Sports guys are all regular in the studio … with Keane, Neville, Souness and Cole all mainstays for their Premier League coverage. Hence, that should help them when it comes to on-screen chemistry.
Gary Neville (pictured), Keane, Souness and Cole are all together on Sky Sports
ITV is also boosted by their mainstream England coverage, with Wright and Dixon always next to Pougatch when it comes to Three Lions games.
Overall, it’s pretty even in terms of chemistry … but maybe the BBC is just shadowing it, given Lineker and Shearer’s Match of the Day connection.
BBC – 8.5 / 10
ITV – 8/10
Final Scores: BBC 37.5 / 50, ITV 40/50