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ITV Sport call foul on dire viewing figures

The figures released by the Broadcasters’ Audience Research Board (BARB) seem to blow a hole through claims by ITV Sport Channel that it has a winning recipe of non-stop live soccer.

It shows even the UEFA Champions League game between Manchester United and Lille attracted just 30,000 viewers, while a Football League Division One clash between Bradford and Nottingham Forest saw just 1,000 tune in.

However, ITV Sport Channel bosses claim the figures paint a misleading picture of the number of subscribers signing up to the service.

ITV Sport Channel is carried on the ITV Digital platform and NTL. It is not, however, carried by BSkyB – the digital leader which has five times the number of subscribers as its nearest rival ITV Digital.

Talks between the two over the possible carriage of the ITV Sport channel on the Sky service have become deadlocked over the amount of money ITV wants Sky to pay to carry its channel.

ITV Sport has exclusive rights to Champions League, Football League and Worthington Cup soccer in the UK.