By all accounts Newcastle United’s two-nil away win at Coventry on Wednesday night was a turgid affair. Regardless, well done BBC Radio Five Live for making it the station’s live commentary on a night of Champions’ League football.
By my reckoning, it is the first time Five Live has shunned the World’s ‘premier club tournament’ – (c.) Uefa – in favour of another game, let alone one from the Ricoh Stadium.
Yet it took this wholly sensible decision because all three matches involving British teams in Europe were dead rubbers – Rangers and Liverpool couldn’t qualify while Arsenal couldn’t finish anywhere but top of their group.
Better a competitive second-tier, domestic league game than a meaningless Champions’ League affair.
Shame, ITV failed to make the brave decision.
Instead, the commercial broadcaster – who’s expensive Champions’ League outlay was rewarded with three meaningless games in one night – chose to show one of them. It could – should – have shown a match involving either Barcelona or Inter Milan in a group where all four teams could still qualify. It didn’t
And how was it rewarded for its timidity? Just over three million viewers tuned into Olympiakos against Arsenal Reserves, according to the overnights.
That’s a mere 14 per cent share and an audience dwarfed by both Spooks and Waterloo Road.