World Cup 1994 on ITV

World Cup Logo

FIFA brought the world of football to the United States of America for the staging of the fifteenth World Cup in 1994. However, the tournament would perhaps be best remembered for events off the field. On the opening day, America was gripped by an altogether different occasion involving a sports star as former NFL player OJ Simpson went on the run from the police in a car chase which gripped the nation and played out Live on television, following suspicions of murdering his wife. When the football did get underway, it was once again Diego Maradona who grabbed the headlines for the wrong reasons when he was sent home after two group matches due to failing doping. He was found with a ‘cocktail of drugs’ in his system, which came as no surprise to anyone who saw his extreme close-up celebration at the camera after his one and only goal this summer against Greece. And Colombian defender Andres Escobar was tragically murdered by members of a drugs cartel five days after his country was eliminated from the tournament, believed to be in retaliation for his own goal against the host nation in the group stages. Elsewhere there were no home nations present at the World Cup for the first time since 1938, owing largely to Graham Taylor’s disastrous campaign with England and a Scotland side in decline. Republic of Ireland were the nearest representative and upset the odds immediately by beating Italy in New York. They graced the knockout stage before elimination at the hands of the Dutch. The competition culminated with the first ever Final penalty shoot-out, as Italy were defeated by Brazil in one of the most laboured of matches. British broadcasters BBC and ITV were there to beam the vast majority of matches direct to our late-night living rooms. In this post I look at the efforts of ITV, who opted to base themselves over in the International Broadcast Centre in Dallas.

 

ITV Sport logoPresenters; Matthew Lorenzo, Tony Francis
Pundits; Denis Law, Ray Wilkins, Don Howe, Jack Charlton
Commentators; Brian Moore, Alan Parry, John Helm, Peter Brackley, Rob Palmer
Co-Commentators; Ron Atkinson, Kevin Keegan, Trevor Francis
Reporters; Gary Newbon, Gabriel Clarke, Phil Mepham


TITLE SEQUENCE & THEME TUNE

ITV Titles

Theme: Daryl Hall & The Sounds of Blackness – Gloryland

ITV’s title music was also the tournament’s official song, sung by Daryl Hall of Hall and Oates fame, accompanied by Minnesota based gospel choir The Sounds of Blackness. Gloryland featured heavy saxophone use, patriotic lyrics and was very catchy. The titles lasted just under a minute and incorporated the ITV Sport logo and programme sponsors Panasonic into the piece. The song was also used on the closing credits as well as instrumental stings going in and out of advert breaks.

ITV titles 1 ITV titles 2 ITV titles 3 ITV titles 4

Lots of typical American imagery featured, with the flag draped and the eagle flying through, mixed with football action which was updated throughout the tournament. The flags of the various participants were also shown rippling across the screen. It ended with the eagle landing and turning its head to the side, where its eye would form the letter O of the World Cup 94 title card. Early in the tournament, the flags would unveil US landmarks such as the Statue of Liberty or Mount Rushmore instead of footballing action, and were variable depending on the match or programme it was introducing. Below is the title sequence to the Italy v Spain Quarter Final.


PRESENTATION TEAM

ITV Lorenzo IBC

Matthew Lorenzo anchored ITV’s World Cup coverage for the one and only time, in doing so becoming the youngest lead presenter of a tournament at the age of 35. He enjoyed rather a whirlwind success with ITV, having joined the Sport department ahead of the 1993/94 campaign to front Live Champions League football. The competition had launched the year before with Ian St John at the helm but a shake-up of personnel saw huge change. Carlton and independent production company Grand Slam Sports took over from LWT in producing the football and cleared out the majority of their old guard; Saint and Greavsie, Elton Welsby and Nick Owen to name a few. In came Lorenzo with a newer breed of pundit; Don Howe, Ray Wilkins, Trevor Francis and, a returning favourite, Denis Law. This new team saw one of the most dismal England campaigns in recent times as, under Graham Taylor, the national side failed to qualify for the 1994 World Cup. ITV picked up away matches in the Netherlands and Poland as well as friendly competition the 1993 US Cup. England failed to win any of those five matches.

Lorenzo 94 Tony Francis 94ITV Studio 2

Undeterred by England’s failure, ITV decided to base their entire production on location for the first time at a World Cup. In 1990 there was a dual presentation from London and Italy and previous tournaments had largely been based in their London Studios. But for this one their infamous Dallas bunker was the setting, part of the International Broadcast Centre shown above right. However, as this was a windowless studio disconnected from the atmosphere of the grounds and the comforts of home it really lacked the desired effect. Indeed, many viewers perhaps would not have known they weren’t in London at all. Lorenzo was a perfectly competent host, hired on his ability to remain cool, relaxed and witty in the style of Des Lynam on the Beeb. But that doesn’t translate as well when there are regular ad breaks and scripted links. ITV’s coverage of the tournament was panned by critics, viewers and even their own staff and it seemed Lorenzo was made scapegoat. When the tournament ended he was given the boot and wasn’t even invited to their World Cup wrap party – according to a 2017 interview Lorenzo gave to the hugely entertaining Quickly Kevin 90s football podcast. He returned to where his broadcasting days began – Sky – and forged a successful career hosting multiple Live sports and magazine programmes including the first incarnation of Goals on Sunday. When Matthew wasn’t hosting in Dallas, his understudy on highlights, previews and other Live games was Tony Francis (above right); previously ITV’s Champions League reporter and host in the Central region.

Law 94 ITV WilkinsITV duo

ITV’s core punditry line up was small but their US base did allow for co-commentators to do stints in the studio and vice versa. Leading the line was former Manchester United striker Denis Law. After a hugely successful career in the North West of England, the Scotsman became a regular in the media after retiring in 1974, including at the ’78 World Cup for BBC. In the 1980s co-hosted Granada’s highlights show Kick Off Match with Elton Welsby. He was part of ITV’s commentary team for the 1982 World Cup, a role he resumed alongside Brian Moore for Manchester United’s early Champions League adventures at the beginning of the 90s. For this World Cup he was largely studio based with occasional stints on the road up on the gantry. As the tournament progressed, so did his tan as those hot summer days started to show! A mainstay of this ITV studio was former England international Ray ‘Butch’ Wilkins. The ex-midfielder was a regular at tournaments for the national side before his last cap in 1986. Whilst still playing at club level he was now a regular in the media. For Italia ’90 he co-commentated for BBC and was a constant presence on Channel 4’s groundbreaking coverage of Serie A in the early part of the decade. When ITV picked up a couple of England Live matches, he joined the team for those, including a furious appearance after defeat to the Netherlands thanks to Ronald Koeman left England all but unable to qualify for USA ’94. His combative playing style was at odds with his friendly, charming persona on television and would go on to feature heavily on the box for many years to come across a variety of broadcasters as well as being in and out of coaching.

Howe 94 ITV Charlton

Another stable of Channel 4’s excellent Football Italia coverage was Don Howe (above left). Going into this tournament, Howe had recently joined new England manager Terry Venables’ set up as assistant coach, having previously worked under Ron Greenwood and Bobby Robson for several years. As a right-back, his playing career was largely at West Brom before joining Arsenal. When he went into management, he took charge of both clubs amongst others. Howe’s reputation as a coach was very high and was brought in to add a tactical perspective, following Andy Gray and Alan Hansen’s lead on other networks. The fourth regular in the studio team was Trevor Francis, another of ITV’s recent England international recruits. Francis’ distinctive West Country accent and nasally tone made his voice instantly recognisable and, like Wilkins, came across as a very likeable man on screen. Despite being 40 years old at this World Cup, Francis had only just finished playing, enjoying a player-manager role at Sheffield Wednesday. He worked for ITV’s coverage of the 1990 World Cup as well as the 1988 European Championships and was a voice in demand when his playing and managing schedule could fit. The final member of the ITV studio was unavailable for the first couple of weeks due to actually being part of the tournament! Republic of Ireland manager Jack Charlton slotted in to the line-up after his side exited at the last 16 stage. His brother Bobby had been a familiar presence over on the BBC during the 1980s, punditing and commentating on Cup Finals and major tournaments, whilst Jack had been involved on ITV even earlier; part of the fiery 1974 World Cup panel in London with Brian Clough and Derek Dougan. Jack Charlton took over the reins of Ireland in 1986 and had successfully guided them to the Finals in his first four qualification campaigns – ’88, ’90, ’92 and this one. During the Euros in Sweden two years earlier, he also worked for ITV once Ireland had been knocked out and during his weeks in America made many friends with press and journalists around the world. He’d continue to be a presence on ITV for the following years.

ITV Moore & Atkinson

In the commentary box leading ITV’s coverage was once again Brian Moore. This was his seventh World Cup with ITV and was very much THE voice of football for them stretching back three decades. With ITV’s relatively small portfolio now compared to previous years, he would cover pretty much every big match they had; European Cup Finals, England internationals and major tournaments. For this Cup, he was reluctant to spend the duration away from his family and so had a break during the last 16 matches, returning to England for a few days. This gave an opportunity for bigger Live matches to the rest of ITV’s bunch; Alan Parry, John Helm and Peter Brackley. As with 1990, Moore focussed solely on commentating instead of combining it with presenting. Opening ITV’s tournament was second choice Alan Parry. He joined the network from the BBC in 1985 principally for Live athletics commentaries. Over the next couple of years he became more and more involved in their football, and by the time Martin Tyler left for Sky, Parry had risen to number two for Italia ’90 and Euro ’92. He was Central’s voice of the Football League, commentating on a Live match most weeks and one of only a few who survived the big overhaul behind the scenes. Helm joined Yorkshire Television in 1981 and covered matches around the country when the highlights were networked two years later. This was his fourth World Cup for ITV and was given perhaps his most high profile assignments yet, covering the non-Live Semi Final and Third Place Play Off matches for the highlights shows. This was Peter Brackley’s first World Cup back at ITV after four years on satellite television with Sky and Eurosport; including Italia ’90 for the latter as well as the former’s first ever Live match which came from the Zenith Data Systems Cup (also Sky One showed a tie from that Cup between Crystal Palace and Swindon in February 1990, which coincidentally had Matthew Lorenzo as pitchside reporter and Ron Atkinson alongside Brackley). Completing the commentary line up was Rob Palmer. He was one of ITV’s rising stars, having joined Granada from BBC radio earlier in the decade. His previous career was actually on the field, as goalkeeper for the likes of Derby’s youth academy as well as in America and non-League. For ITV his voice was heard on Live League matches in the North West and various highlights, including for the first time at a major tournament.

Atkinson & Newbon

Keeping the commentators’ company on the gantry were ITV regulars Ron Atkinson and Kevin Keegan, along with the previously mentioned Trevor Francis and Denis Law who combined it with studio appearances. Atkinson was the principle summariser and had been on and off for many years, whenever he wasn’t in management. His major tournament commentaries date back as far 1980 where he did the Final with Brian Moore and covered ever subsequent Championships to this point bar Euro ’84. His perma-tan, recognisable voice and fondness for creating his own language turned him into a popular cult figure and was the go-to man for ITV whenever a big match was on and was Central Television’s main man. His partnership with Brian Moore was particularly enjoyable. The other regular partner was Kevin Keegan. The ex-England hero had featured in the studio for ITV during his playing career, including on the groundbreaking World Cup punditry panels during the 1970s which continued on into the 80s. With Ian St John dropped, Keegan took his tournament co-commentary spot behind Atkinson for this Cup and featured on the Champions League. He combined this with his first managerial position at Newcastle United where he was enjoying great success. ITV used him whenever they could from this point on.

ITV Newbon Clarke 94

Reporting on the action around the country and on the touchlines were Gary Newbon, Gabriel Clarke (above right) and Phil Mepham. Newbon was the chief reporter and covered the Republic of Ireland matches as well as the pick of the rest, interviewing players and managers. His association with ITV dates back to the 1960s when he began with Westward TV before becoming most known for his work in the Midlands on ATV then Central. He was the main pitchside reporter across ITV’s Live output – England, European Cup and tournaments – as well as hosting regional presentations of news and sport. Understudy to Newbon was Gabriel Clarke. He joined Saint and Greavsie‘s show as a reporter in 1991, voicing goal round ups, features and interviews until its demise the following summer. He would appear in front of the camera following this tournament, hosting the new Endsleigh Football League Extra networked highlights programme. Another voice heard during coverage of this World Cup was Phil Mepham, doing programme features and round ups. Mepham was a sports reporter for the Central region, clearly signalling which area the new ITV Sport bosses were getting much of their talent from. In the Final credits, Mepham was listed as ‘News Editor’ rather than reporter.


LIVE MATCH SELECTION

ITV’s pick selection of the World Cup was front-loaded, choosing to guarantee themselves with a couple of the Republic of Ireland’s group matches ahead of unknown knockout clashes. As a result, this left them with the middle of the night kick-off time for the Semi Final and the weaker looking Quarter Finals. They showed one fewer match in the group stages than their BBC counterparts (technically one and a half as only the second half of USA v Romania was Live and even that was a last minute decision replacing scheduled highlights), which lead to calls of their coverage being a bit half-bothered. With the kick-off times being quite unfriendly to UK audiences, and having no English representatives, it was impressive that so much of the group stage was covered Live. Clashing matches were not, with Eurosport picking up the bulk of those (and simulcasting many others with the terrestrial channels). Overall, ITV broadcast nineteen World Cup matches Live and direct from USA 1994.

GROUP STAGES; Friday 17th June
Spain 2-2 South Korea (12.30am Kick Off)

Saturday 18th June
Rep of Ireland 1-0 Italy (9pm)

Monday 20th June
Netherlands 2-1 Saudi Arabia (12.30am)

Tuesday 21st June
Germany 1-1 Spain (9pm)

Wednesday 22nd June
USA 2-1 Colombia (12.30am)

Thursday 23rd June
South Korea 0-0 Bolivia (12.30am)

Friday 24th June
Rep of Ireland 1-2 Mexico (5.30pm) & Sweden 3-1 Russia (12.30am)

Saturday 25th June
Belgium 1-0 Netherlands (5.30pm)

Sunday 26th June
USA 0-1 Romania (9pm) *2nd Half Live only*

Tuesday 28th June
Brazil 1-1 Sweden (9pm)

LAST 16; Saturday 2nd July
Spain 3-0 Switzerland (9.30pm)

Sunday 3rd July
Sweden 3-1 Saudi Arabia (6pm)

Monday 4th July
USA 0-1 Brazil (8.30pm)

Tuesday 5th July
Italy 1-1 Nigeria, 2-1 AET (6pm)

QUARTER FINALS; Saturday 9th July
Italy 2-1 Spain (5.05pm)

Sunday 10th July
Sweden 1-1 Romania, 2-2 AET – SWE win 5-4 on penalties (8.30pm)

SEMI FINALS; Wednesday 13th July
Brazil 1-0 Sweden (12.30am)

FINAL; Sunday 17th July
Brazil 0-0 Italy, AET – BRA win 3-2 on penalties (8.30pm)


COVERAGE & GRAPHICS

ITV Sport Ident ITV Sponsor

The ITV Sport logo kicked off the coverage of each programme by fading in over a spinning football, incorporated into the title sequence and sponsorship whilst Gloryland began to play. The logo was adapted to have the American style stars and stripes across the letter V. ITV’s coverage was sponsored by Panasonic using the tagline “Great shots of the World Cup”. Their sponsorship bumpers had children painted with the various colours of the competing nations flags. After this, the USA flag draped over the screen and the full title sequence came to life as the beat of the music kicked in.

ITV intro ITV Mepham

ITV’s graphics were simplistic, mostly using a lower third bar flying in and out from right of screen. The Americanised ITV Sport logo was placed on the left whilst the text was bold on the top line and italicised on the bottom line. These were used during the studio coverage. Above left; we have an example of the introductory graphic setting the scene for the upcoming Live game with the fixture and kick off time. Above right; the on-screen graphic at the beginning of Phil Mepham’s report captioning his name in the build up to Italy versus Spain.

ITV graphics 1 ITV aston 1

Above left; Full screen graphic outlaying Italy’s group and their odds to win it at the beginning of the tournament during the preview programme. The background featured a couple of flags, as also appearing in the title sequence. Above right; ITV’s World Cup astons for managers and players. The additional detail shows the flag of the country, in this case Brazil for their manager Carlos Alberto Parreira.

ITV Italy line up ITV Spain line up

ITV’s team formation line up graphic would differ depending on what part of the programme they were shown, with an opaque background if shown during the studio parts and a semi-translucent background for kick off. Above left; the Italy formation for their match against Spain as shown during the pre-match build up with the pundits. The same background is being used as earlier and the starting eleven is lined up in their playing positions. Above right; the formation graphic that the commentator ran through immediately before kick-off. The semi-translucent graphic allowed the stadium to become the background. This example is also from Spain’s clash with Italy.

Ireland Team FIFA graphics

If ITV did not use their own graphics for the team line ups ahead of kick off, the world feed graphics would be used, as shown above left. This would be the same on the BBC. The world feed graphics had a blue background with italic writing and underlining dots. During the match at occasional intervals, the clock would appear in the top right of the screen, as shown above right. Any in-game graphics for player names, yellow cards, substitutions etc would all be world feed.

ITV Kick Off ITV Comms

At the kick-off of each ITV match, the scene would be set by graphics in the lower third on the right hand side. The fixture would flash up followed by “Live from the” stadium and location information; above left. ITV then added their commentary team name checks; above right. These were made in the style of the official world feed, with a blue background and white text. The panels featured the same faint lines within the blue, mimicking the official tournament branding.

ITV replays ITV in game aston

For action replays, the footage would fly in from the left of screen into the middle with a big white border; above left. Once done, the replay would fly out to the right hand side in a similar fashion. This was the same across the world and occurred for all matches bar the final, where the white border was replaced by a thicker bar stating the two competing countries. Above right; an example of an in-game name aston for Swedish forward Kennet Andersson. As mentioned earlier, these graphics were provided by the host broadcaster for the tournament and used around the world.

ITV Scorebar

The host broadcaster did not provide a permanent scoreboard, allowing each rights holder to add their own custom one over the top of the pictures. Scoreboards and on-screen clocks weren’t particularly common on UK television. Indeed, it was seen as somewhat revolutionary when Sky Sports adopted one for the launch of their Premiership coverage in 1992, however other sports and broadcasters had used permanent scoreboards on occasions prior to this. ITV followed suit the following year for their European and domestic football coverage and by the time of the 1994 World Cup it was very much a rarity to not have the constant reminder of the score and clock present on the main UK broadcasters. Above; the US-style ITV Sport logo was slapped on the top-left of screen, with translucent boxes surrounding it. The scoreline with full team names appeared in a bar on the right, whilst the timer went underneath the logo. For broadcasters that did not use a permanent clock, the world feed graphics popped up on occasions with a reminder of the score at the bottom of the screen and the time in the top right above a nice little pie chart showing the match progress (demonstrated higher up the page). This was very similar in principle to the domestic scoreboard used in previous months by ITV, with the logo left of the fixture and clock.


FEATURES & SUPPORT PROGRAMMING

Highlights and preview programmes did exist in the ITV schedule but they were not regular. The late night kick offs did allow for an extended build up and therefore an opportunity for highlights of that day’s other matches. For the primetime kick offs, coverage was generally kept to a minimum, with fifteen to thirty minute intros and little by way of post-match reaction and analysis. Tony Francis often presented what little amount of preview and review programming there was, with former magazine staple Saint and Greavsie now axed following the loss of top flight football in 1992.


THE FINAL

ITV’s coverage of the World Cup Final was hosted Live from their Dallas studio inside the International Broadcast Centre. Republic of Ireland manager Jack Charlton was a guest alongside the regular studio team.

BRAZIL 0-0 ITALY (AET, BRA win 3-2 on pens) World Cup 1994 Final, Los Angeles
Sunday 17th July 1994, 8.30pm Kick Off ITV Logo

ITV Credits 1 ITV Credits 2

PRESENTER Matthew Lorenzo GUESTS Jack Charlton, Don Howe, Ray Wilkins & Denis Law
COMMENTATORS Brian Moore & Ron Atkinson
Hosted from the IBC, Dallas     8-11pm Live on ITV (Extended to approx 11.30pm)

Trophy Lift 2

For details on BBC’s World Cup 1994 coverage click HERE.

About Mark O'MEARA
I am Mark O'MEARA.

One Response to World Cup 1994 on ITV

  1. Pingback: World Cup 1994 on the BBC | Mark O'MEARA

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