BBC condemned for mismanaging Football Focus with viewing figures drastically declining


The BBC are in the spotlight with the popularity of Football Focus waning

Jack Otway

By Jack Otway

Published: 22/09/2023

- 15:13

The show isn't as popular as it once was, leading to uncertainty about its future

The BBC have been condemned for the way they've been running Football Focus as the show's popularity plummets.

It has emerged the programme, which has been going since 1974, is drastically losing viewers.

The show is losing more than one third of its early-season audience in the space of four years.

And it's average weekly viewing figures for August have fallen from 849,000 in 2019 to just 564,000 last month.

Dan Walker

Dan Walker's departure from Football Focus has seen the popularity of the BBC show plummet


The BBC insist they're eager to keep running Football Focus, with a spokesperson saying: "Football Focus continues to herald the start of a whole weekend of sporting coverage across BBC Sport.

"Week-on-week it is the most watched programme during that time slot and iPlayer viewing figures are also strong, so we know its popularity is enduring for fans."

However, the reality is that figures must improve or it'll likely be taken off air.

The show has also been criticised by some fans for replacing the popular Dan Walker with Alex Scott.

Scott is a capable presenter but, since taking over in 2021, the viewing figures for the programme have only got worse.

And brand and culture expert Nick Ede thinks Football Focus no longer understands its audience, condemning the BBC for not moving with the times.

"The trend for digesting football results and football discussion has changed," he told the Daily Mail.

"And with ratings down on Football Focus it shows that viewers don’t want discussion, they want to watch the match then use social media to make their own opinions heard.

"Dan Walker is a very popular presenter and his exit has made things change and the viewers have departed.

"People are switching on to documentaries like Disney’s ‘Welcome to Wrexham’ and Netflix with the Beckhams.

"People want interesting documentaries to invest their own time in, rather than discussion shows."

The BBC are now set to hold urgent discussions over the future of Football Focus.

It's said 'serious thought' will be given as to whether a major rebrand of the show is required in order to turn things around.

Former Liverpool star Mark Lawrenson, who used to be a regular on the show, thinks the show is close to the end.

"It has served its time," he said.

"It’s a football magazine show, but there are so many other options for viewers these days and so much competition.

"It doesn’t surprise me. Football Focus is coming up to 50 years, which is an unbelievable run, although there was no competition 50 years ago."

Scott has broken her silence, too.

The BBC presenter has taken to social media to share videos and pictures of herself at Arsenal.


BBC Mark Lawrenson

Mark Lawrenson says Football Focus has 'served its time'


Scott is interviewing Gunners star Martin Odegaard, who has signed a new contract with the club.

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