It is not only in the General Election where two candidates are vying for your vote this summer. The BBC and ITV are conducting their own month-long campaigns in the hope that, come July 14, you will agree theirs is the party worth joining to celebrate England’s Euro 2024 coronation.

As utopian as that scenario may sound after Thursday’s drab draw with Denmark, that is ultimately the dream. Both broadcasters hold the television rights to that finale in Berlin and have until then to convince us that their coverage is more deserving of our living rooms than the other’s.

The rivalry is real, according to production sources speaking anonymously, and there will be no shortage of schadenfreude in Germany whenever a mistake is made by their competition. Such as allowing Gary Lineker to practically flog his own Next menswear range while presenting for the BBC. Just kidding. Kind of.

First, we must go back to a coin toss in Ukraine in 2011, which determined that the BBC would have first choice over ITV for Euro 2012 in the you-pick, we-pick system adopted for their ongoing 50-50 split of the matches. They have alternated in this selection process ever since and for Euro 2024 it was the turn of ITV to wield their picking power first.

As much as we would like this executive meeting to resemble a scene from The Godfather, it is somewhat less dramatic. It is understood there is not even a UEFA delegate present to mediate.

Gary Lineker, left, has led the BBC's coverage from their studio near the Brandenburg Gate, with Alan Shearer, Cesc Fabregas and Wayne Rooney among their high-profile pundits

Gary Lineker, left, has led the BBC's coverage from their studio near the Brandenburg Gate, with Alan Shearer, Cesc Fabregas and Wayne Rooney among their high-profile pundits

Gary Lineker, left, has led the BBC’s coverage from their studio near the Brandenburg Gate, with Alan Shearer, Cesc Fabregas and Wayne Rooney among their high-profile pundits

ITV will be hoping to get the upper hand on the BBC in the battle of the two broadcasters

ITV will be hoping to get the upper hand on the BBC in the battle of the two broadcasters

ITV will be hoping to get the upper hand on the BBC in the battle of the two broadcasters

Described as ‘all very amicable’, it was after the draw in December that the respective sides sat down to run through the pecking order. ITV started by securing first choice of the semi-finals, clearly banking on England being there. The BBC responded by making sure they had their pick of the quarter-finals.

Paraphrasing, here is how that game of chess is understood to have continued:

ITV: We will have first choice on the round of 16.

BBC: We want England versus Serbia, our nation’s opening game.

ITV: We’ll take England versus Slovenia, the last group game.

BBC: We’ll have England versus Denmark, the one in between.

It was here that ITV could have claimed the other semi-final. Instead, it is understood they chose the opener between Germany and Scotland, which attracted 10.4 million viewers.

And on it went from there until finally, once Slovakia v Ukraine was said to have been picked last in the process, the BBC and ITV had their divide.

ITV are understood to have picked the opening game between Scotland and Germany rather than snapping up the second semi-final

ITV are understood to have picked the opening game between Scotland and Germany rather than snapping up the second semi-final

ITV are understood to have picked the opening game between Scotland and Germany rather than snapping up the second semi-final

The BBC were fortunate to showcase Turkey's win over Georgia as an unlikely spectacle emerged

The BBC were fortunate to showcase Turkey's win over Georgia as an unlikely spectacle emerged

The BBC were fortunate to showcase Turkey’s win over Georgia as an unlikely spectacle emerged

There is a risk to it all and ITV can only hope they will be rewarded for their selections rather than left wishing they could stick a James Bond film on instead, as one source joked.

Like Slovakia-Ukraine, Turkey versus Georgia in Group F will hardly have troubled the top order, but this is where a surprise can be sprung. The BBC ended up showcasing one of Euro 2024’s best games so far, with Brentford boss Thomas Frank proving why he was an astute procurement as a pundit and Guy Mowbray and Jermaine Jenas both praised for capturing the mood.

Rewind to July 21, 1969, to find the BBC and ITV first trying to one-up each other when Neil Armstrong became the first man to walk on the moon. Even Lineker would have struggled to conjure a better line than Armstrong’s, and if you thought Thursday’s coverage of England versus Denmark was long, the Beeb committed 27 hours to that lunar landing to ITV’s 16.

Today, we can crunch the numbers from the rare occasions the channels go head-to-head. For the Euro 2020 final, when England lost to Italy, the BBC pulled in a peak audience of 25 million compared to ITV’s 6.2 million. For the 2022 World Cup final between Argentina and France, it was 14.9 million for the BBC, 4.2 million for ITV.

One reason for these radical ratios is that those tuning into the Beeb know they will not be forced to watch adverts, such as Jack Grealish telling us how much he loves Hellmann’s mayonnaise. There is also the fact we pay £169.50 per year for the BBC so, hey, we may as well try to get our money’s worth.

No expense is spared when it comes to covering shared national events, partly because they want to prove they deserve their licence fee, which is under attack from Reform UK leader Nigel Farage.

One former ITV executive joked how their BBC counterparts would always outnumber them in meetings and it would appear that embarrassment of riches has extended to the punditry table.

Should England reach the end of Euro 2024, the BBC’s policy of using a three-man panel will be tested, with Wayne Rooney, Micah Richards, Frank Lampard, Rio Ferdinand, Cesc Fabregas, Joe Hart and more to choose from, while Alan Shearer has claimed ownership of the larger co-commentary assignments over Jenas for this tournament. The bigger the names, the better, and we have seen a push to snap up current Premier League coaches, the BBC securing Brentford’s Thomas Frank and ITV snapping up Tottenham’s Ange Postecoglou.

Brentford boss Thomas Frank has proved an impressive addition to the BBC's line-up

Brentford boss Thomas Frank has proved an impressive addition to the BBC's line-up

Brentford boss Thomas Frank has proved an impressive addition to the BBC’s line-up

Tottenham manager Ange Postecoglou debuted on ITV's coverage on Saturday night

Tottenham manager Ange Postecoglou debuted on ITV's coverage on Saturday night

Tottenham manager Ange Postecoglou debuted on ITV’s coverage on Saturday night

The BBC have dominated the audience figures when both broadcasters show major finals

The BBC have dominated the audience figures when both broadcasters show major finals

The BBC have dominated the audience figures when both broadcasters show major finals

Matt Curtis, the lead live producer of CBS Sports and a broadcast coach, told Mail Sport that the BBC have taken an early lead. ‘At this stage, the BBC have the edge, but it’s early in the tournament and I’m sure, like England, ITV will grow into it,’ he said.

‘Micah Richards in particular has been amazing. Where I really applaud Micah is he has this tag of being the “loud bloke who laughs a lot”. He hasn’t removed that, but he’s added to his credibility with his analysis and knowledge of European football. I also think their commentary has been excellent, with Guy Mowbray and Jermaine Jenas standing out.

‘What ITV do have going for them is they have hired people with strong opinions, like Roy Keane, Gary Neville and Graeme Souness, but then maybe that means their analysis is not amazing.’

Curtis, who has also led Channel 4’s England coverage, added Kelly Somers as another star of the show for the BBC. She asks the right questions in her interviews and does so respectfully.

It is likely that the BBC will trounce ITV in the ratings for the Euro 2024 final.

Touchline reporter Kelly Somers has been among the stars of the BBC coverage in Germany

Touchline reporter Kelly Somers has been among the stars of the BBC coverage in Germany

Touchline reporter Kelly Somers has been among the stars of the BBC coverage in Germany

Yet even if they have been pulverised in previous finals of tournaments, ITV can brag that they bring in advertising money and Euro 2020 saw the broadcaster rake in record takings as revenue rose by 115 per cent compared with the same month a year earlier.

When ITV had the Euro 2020 semi-final between England and Denmark all to themselves, national newspapers reported that 30-second ad slots were being sold for between £500,000 and £750,000.

Much like the Super Bowl, World Cups and Euros are a playground for creative advertisers. Adidas have won acclaim for their ‘Hey Jude’ promotion focusing on Bellingham, not least for being brave enough to forgo even naming their brand in the ad.

A long run for England at Euro 2024 would be lucrative for ITV. As presenter and producer Richard Osman explained on The Rest Is Entertainment podcast this week: ‘The success or failure of England and Scotland in this tournament will have an appreciable effect on the end-of-year results on ITV.’

The BBC’s studio complex at Euro 2024 is directly behind the Brandenburg Gate. A live view from a piece of prime real estate in Berlin, it sees Lineker sometimes presenting from their slick indoor space and other times from a rooftop terrace that includes a virtual floor made up of weather-resistant LED screens. All this is housed in a temporary structure that was built from scratch for the tournament.

ITV’s balcony studio with a roof is on the side in the same square, found on the fourth floor of the Academy of Arts in Berlin’s Pariser Platz.

They are in a similar position to the one occupied by the Beeb during the 2006 World Cup in Germany — and there has been some fun poked at how you can see their rivals’ site over presenters Mark Pougatch and Laura Woods’ shoulders — but it is understood ITV do have emergency access to the BBC complex if it starts raining sideways.

One source this week talked of ‘secret missions’ ahead of this Berlin invasion, reconnaisance expeditions with the aim of finding out the other’s studio location and which of the latest technology they are using to ensure their set-up is better. We are unlikely to find BBC executives tuning in to ITV to steal ideas and vice versa. Those in that bubble say you tend to focus on your own production once the tournament gets going.

However, there has been criticism from industry insiders of both broadcasters for failing to capture the special atmosphere in Germany.

The BBC's studio can be seen over the shoulder of the ITV's presenter from their balcony

The BBC's studio can be seen over the shoulder of the ITV's presenter from their balcony

The BBC’s studio can be seen over the shoulder of the ITV’s presenter from their balcony 

Their gripe is that neither have done the joviality justice after the 2018 World Cup in Russia, Euro 2020 in 11 host countries and 2022 World Cup in Qatar — three tournaments competed for in very different circumstances.

Social media has often been a better source for getting that vibe in the form of viral video, like the Scotland fans sheltering an elderly lady with an umbrella.

Broadcasters can be too rigid with their running orders. In time, we may see the BBC and ITV improve at painting a better picture from Germany for those tuning in at home.

For now, the BBC and ITV will continue to take it one game at a time, to borrow that old cliche, until the Euro 2024 final arrives on July 14, effectively their polling day. The question is, who will get your vote?

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