ITV Sport Channel captures Smith and announces weekend line-up

3rd July 2001

The ITV Sport Channel has announced the schedule for its launch weekend next month and also the first of its presenters.

The channel will kick-off with two live Football League Division One games over its first weekend including the mouth-watering clash between Manchester City and Watford at Maine Road, as well as separate in-depth highlight shows for all three Nationwide Divisions, exclusive tennis from the USA and top quality international snooker.

One of the new presenters who will feature heavily on the new channel is rising star Matt Smith who has been signed from the BBC.

Matt, 32, started his career presenting sports news on Chris Evans' Radio 1 Breakfast Show, and has also covered the Olympics for 5Live.

He made his TV debut on BBC Choice and has also fronted the Sunday morning "Football Fever" show as well as presenting sports bulletins on the BBC TV news.

The first of 65 live Division One games to be screened on the channel throughout the season will see Gianluca Vialli's Watford travel to Maine Road on Saturday August 11th to take on a Manchester City side playing their first game under former England coach Kevin Keegan.

Saturday night will see the first ever Division One highlights show that will give fans in-depth coverage and analysis of the days games hours after the final whistles have gone up and down the country.

The following day will see similar groundbreaking programmes for Division 2 and 3 fans before the weekend's second live game sees a War of the Roses clash between Sheffield Wednesday and Burnley.

The ITV Sport Channel, the first premium sport channel to launch in the UK for ten years, will show 40 UEFA Champions League games, 80 Nationwide League matches and 15 Worthington Cup ties as well as a host of wrap around football programming and other top quality sporting action. The channel is only available through ONdigital, soon to be renamed ITV Digital.

As well as the ITV Sport Channel, the ITV Sport Plus overflow channel will appear free of charge enabling viewers to choose which game or sporting event they want to watch when there is a scheduling clash.

Nick Atkins, Director of Programming at ONdigital said:

Our first weekend's line-up shows that we are committed to delivering a sport channel that brings the best in live coverage and sports programming. Add to this the Champions League and Worthington Cup and of course the Premiership pay-per-view available through our PPV service and the ITV Sport Channel's line-up is very strong.
We are delighted that Matt has joined us from the BBC, he reflects perfectly the new, fresh innovative and intelligent approach we are taking.

Saturday August 11th - ITV Sport Channel

  • 17.30pm Football League Live Manchester City v Watford k.o 6.15pm
  • 20.30pm Snooker Champions Cup Live
  • 22.30pm Nationwide Division One Highlights show
  • 12.00am Football League Man City v Watford repeat

Saturday August 11th ITV Sport Plus

  • 17.30pm Tennis Masters Series Cincinnati semi-final Live
  • 22.30pm Tennis Masters Series Cinncinnati second semi-final Live

Sunday August 12th ITV Sport Channel

  • 09.45am Nationwide Division Three Highlights Show
  • 10.30am Nationwide Division Two Highlights show
  • 11.15am Nationwide Division One Highlights show repeat
  • 13.00pm The Match Day Programme
  • 14.00pm South American World Cup Qualifiers "The story so far"
  • 15.00pm Nationwide Division Three Highlights Show repeat
  • 15.45pm Nationwide Division Two Highlights Show repeat
  • 16.30pm Nationwide Division One Highlights Show repeat
  • 18.00pm Football League Live Sheffield Wednesday v Burnley
  • 20.30pm Snooker Champions Cup Live
  • 23.00pm Football League Sheffield Wednesday v Burnley repeat

Sunday August 12th ITV Sport Plus

  • 17.30pm Tennis Masters Series Cincinnati Final Live