LONDON — Striking a huge blow against the BBC, the ITV web has poached the pubcaster’s No. 1 sports anchor, Desmond Lynam.
Lynam, a 30-year BBC veteran, is probably its most popular presenter across all its programming.
In recent years, the BBC has lost most of its major sports rights to commercial rivals, but Lynam’s defection will be viewed as a greater blow than the loss of any single event.
His suave and understated style has long embodied the effortless superiority the BBC’s sports coverage has maintained over rival channels.
He resisted several previous attempts to lure him away, but the depletion of the BBC’s sports rights finally proved too great even for such a loyalist.
Under his four-year deal with ITV, Lynam will present the web’s live soccer coverage, which is being substantially boosted with exclusive primetime airing of the European Champions League.