Football or Soccer, the Song is the Same
By Dan Daley, SVG Audio Editor
Broadcast sports has increasingly been turning to music to help establish an identity. In the UK, the British know how to rock a football stadium.
Their knack for sports music extends to the air. London-based Audio Network, which has scored shows including The Football League Show, Total Rugby, Pokerstars, and the iconic, polka-themed Match of the Day (which UK performing-rights organization PRS has dubbed the most recognizable song in the country) for such networks as the BBC and Sky Sports.
Its experience mirrors that of its American cousins when it comes to sports music: pop music is ever present (faster versions of the Kaiser Chiefs’ “Ruby” are regular chants at matches and Fleetwood Mac’s “The Chain” was the 2011 theme for F1 racing); the cinema theme is represented by film scorer Hans Zimmer’s “Mombassa,” used by Audio Network for the BBC’s coverage of the Wimbledon finals.
Lina Tebbs, the company’s head of creative and sync, says electronic dance music is a relative new influence in sports-broadcast music in the UK, surprisingly since the genre has been huge for decades in Europe. But EDM has long had a bridge to sports music in the form of Big Beat, a techno-music style illustrated by artists like the Chemical Brothers and Fatboy Slim, which uses style elements like acid house and is perhaps the biggest differentiator between U.S. and UK sports themes.
“It’s very in-your-face and quick and a real attention-getter,” she says. Some sports — such as darts, snooker and cricket— are very local to the UK, but all have their own take on music for their broadcasts. But what unifies them, says Tebbs, are the same fundamentals found in their U.S. counterparts: “It’s all very dramatic and used to build tension and anticipation. That’s what it’s all about.”