World Cup: Protesters Hit ITV Studio With Rocks During Opening Game
The first night of the tournament in Brazil also saw an outage and "unprecedented" technical problems for the U.K. network's online video player, drawing complaints from fans.
LONDON—ITV's first night of World Cup 2014 coverage in Brazil went off with challenges as protesters hit the network's studio with rocks and the ITV online video player experienced outages.
Rio de Janeiro saw an estimated 600 anti-World Cup protesters marching through the streets with banners saying "FIFA go home," an attack on the world's soccer governing body and "World Cup of corruption."
The ITV commentary studio in the city got hit by what U.K. news reports on Friday said were rocks thrown by protesters during the opening match between host nation Brazil and Croatia.
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Studio host Adrian Chiles, sitting with former players and pundits Fabio Cannavaro, Patrick Viera and Lee Dixon, explained what happened after the game ended in a 3-1 victory for Brazil. Starting off the post-game analysis in the studio, ITV cameras showed dents in the glass that looked like bullet holes.
"Celebrations there [in the stadium in Sao Paolo], not so here right outside our studio on Copacabana Beach, Rio de Janeiro," Chiles said as the cameras then showed protesters outside. "This demonstration materialized about 10 minutes before the end of the game. We were all sitting up here, and then suddenly sharp clattering sounds started … and that was them pelting the glass of our studio."
He added, "We did try to explain to them none of this is our fault at ITV Sport," before focusing on post-game analysis.
Meanwhile, ITV also had to deal with angry British soccer fans as its video service, ITV Player, experienced technical problems during the opening game.
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"We're seeing unprecedented numbers of users during the game," the ITV Player Twitter account said at some point during the game. "We apologize for any inconvenience, we're working hard to resume normal service."
Angry fans tweeted that they missed key moments of the soccer action as a result of the problems.
The ITV Twitter account later added: "We're so sorry for the disruption tonight. It wasn't planned and we know it came at a crucial time during the match. Apologies again."
An ITV spokeswoman cited "unprecedented numbers of users" as the reason for the problems and promised the issue would get fixed.