Match of the day host Gary Lineker earns £1.75million per year, the second highest at the BBC, a government-ordered report has revealed.
Lineker has been revealed as the BBC’s second highest-earner, after TV and radio presenter Chris Evans, after the pay of its broadcast “talent” was published in the BBC’s annual report for the first time on Wednesday.
The former Barcelona, Everton, Leicester and Tottenham star gets four times as much as BBC Sport’s next highest earner, his Match of the Day colleague and fellow ex-striker Alan Shearer, who is paid between £400,000-449,000.
Question of Sport and tennis presenter Sue Barker is the best-paid woman at BBC Sport, earning between £300,000-349,999.
Other big-earners include versatile presenters Mark Chapman, John Inverdale and Gabby Logan, who both earn between £200,000-249,999, and tennis pundit John McEnroe and Test Match Special commentator Jonathan Agnew, who earn between £150,000-199,999.
The BBC has published what it pays senior managers in the past but has always resisted calls to declare the salaries of its on-screen stars, saying it would have an inflationary effect in a competitive market.
But last year, the government forced the BBC to reveal the salaries of all employees earning more than £150,000 – in £50,000 bands – as a condition of its continuing right to receive an annual licence fee of £147 per household.
Lineker’s salary is one of the more eye-catching numbers in the report but it does not include what he, and several other big stars, earn from independent companies that make programmes for the BBC or what they earn from their own production companies.
This would explain why chat-show host and radio presenter Graham Norton’s salary is listed at £850,000-899,999 when it is widely believed that he is really the best-paid man at the corporation.
Lineker, in fact, is likely to earn more from the BBC than his personal salary as his production company Goalhanger Films also makes documentaries for the corporation, including the recent film about boxer Anthony Joshua, and co-produces The Premier League Show. It also does not include what he earns from BT Sport for presenting its Champions League coverage.
In a tweet on Wednesday morning, Lineker wrote: “Happy BBC salary day. I blame my agent and the other TV channels that pay more. Now where did I put my tin helmet?”
And in a twitter exchange with Yorkshire Post editor James Mitchinson, Lineker confirmed he has been offered more money by commercial broadcasters but has turned them down because he “loves and values” his BBC job.
Like Lineker, Clare Balding is another ubiquitous presenter who is likely to receive a large proportion of her BBC pay via her own ‘Clearly Clare’ production company and other independent producers.
According to the annual report, Balding’s BBC salary is in the lowest declared bracket of £150,000-199,999, the same as Agnew, McEnroe and rugby union pundit Jonathan Davies, although it should be noted that McEnroe only does two weeks’ work for the BBC at Wimbledon.
Apart from presenter Dan Walker, who now also presents BBC1’s Breakfast show, the only other sports presenter on the list is Jason Mohammad, whose salary of £250,000-299,999 may raise the most eyebrows as he is still relatively unknown outside Wales, where he started as a news reporter and presenter.
More recently, however, Mohammad has been presenting rugby union, snooker and Saturday’s Final Score programme, as well as being part of the BBC’s Rio 2016 coverage and filling in on Match of the Day.
Looking at the list more widely, two thirds of the highest-earners are men and Mohammad is one of a small number of presenters from a black, Asian and minority ethnic background.