Gary Linker opens up about his BBC salary for Match of the Day
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Football pundit Gary Lineker has addressed his BBC salary as the broadcaster’s highest paid host for his presenting role on Match Of The Day, saying that he’s “fortuitous” to have landed the opportunity. Speaking to Ros Atkins on BBC Radio 4, the former professional footballer, 60, candidly addressed how fortunate he had been to land one of football’s biggest presenting roles on the BBC, before questioning whether anyone would refuse the high figures in his pay cheque.
But who would refuse it?
Speaking about Gary’s lengthy stint as presenter on Match Of The Day, the journalist frankly asked him why he thought the BBC pays him his reported £1.75million salary.
The journalist asked the former sportsman: “Can I ask you about your role within that institution?
“As it’s been much reported, you’re one of the BBC’s best paid presenters for your work on MOTD.
“Why do you think the BBC has decided to commit that much money to the presenter of that particular programme?” he asked the Walkers brand ambassador.
Gary replied: “I think it’s obviously been a long-term process and my salary has gradually come down,” he admitted, before laughing.
Continuing, he said: “But no, obviously I was in a fortuitous position.
“I was sought after by numerous channels over the years and football is global, it’s big business.”
The star citied the Euro 2020 viewing figures, which reached 30.95 million, to point out how football draws in some of the biggest numbers on TV.
Gary went on: “It does the biggest numbers on television, more than anything else as we’ve seen in the Euros again this summer.
“And there’s a lot of competition, the BBC had to fight for -” Gary began, before trailing off.
Starting again, he continued: “I mean, it’s hard talking about this for myself, obviously, because I’ve realised how fortuitous I am.
“But the BBC wanted me to head their football on television and I’m very grateful for that,” he added graciously.
Probing deeper, Ros asked the TV personality: “I suppose what I’m trying to understand is – not that there is a market which you are operating in, and that a number of people wanted your services and the BBC paid.
“I’m trying to understand why the BBC decided for this programme, and this man, this is an investment,” he said, before Gary cut in.
“It’s not this programme, it’s all that, you know -” he started, before the journalist continued his line of questioning.
Ros went on: “At the centre of it is Match Of The Day. I’m trying to understand, because you’ll be in these discussions, why BBC sees Match Of The Day as so central to its connection with this country.”
“Well, you probably have to ask the bosses in charge, but I suppose in many ways it has become a flagship programme for sport in this country,” Gary answered.
“It’s immensely popular and again, I’ll say there is competition for people in my business and I know for a fact there are pundits alone, not presenters, that earn double what I do for doing a lot less than I do.
“It’s always difficult justifying a big salary, which I know I have. But who would refuse it shall we say, under the circumstances.”
Justifying his salary, Gary continued: “And I’ve had offers way bigger than what I earn to go elsewhere, so…” he said, before trailing off.
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