Interview with Richard Lenton, 2013 Winner of Best Sports Presenter/Commentator
In addition to being a magazine editor and journalist, Richard Lenton has displayed his talent for football presenting. With his wealth of knowledge in different leagues and teams, and his flair in driving a talk show, Lenton has covered...
July 21, 2015
In addition to being a magazine editor and journalist, Richard Lenton has displayed his talent for football presenting. With his wealth of knowledge in different leagues and teams, and his flair in driving a talk show, Lenton has covered for many Singtel TV sports programmes like Football 360 and Game On. He has also hosted the 2014 FIFA World Cup and 2015 South East Asia Games on the same network, and during his career interviewed some of the biggest stars in Sports.
Asian Television Awards speaks to the 2013 winner of the Best Sports Presenter/ Commentator on some of his thoughts regarding TV presenting and football.
Being the winner for 2013 Best Sports Presenter/ Commentator – even receiving double nominations for two years consecutively, can you share with us your thoughts?
I only started working in TV as a reporter in 2010, so to win the presenter award just three years later was a huge boost, and there’s no doubt that it’s increased my profile here in Singapore. It was without doubt one of my proudest achievements, and the trophy is still on display on top of my bookcase.
The problem is that once you’ve had a taste of it you want more, so I was really disappointed to only finish runner up last year. Hopefully I managed to look sincere when I was congratulating the winner, but I can assure you it was all an act…
Most of your works revolves around football. How did your interest with this sport began?
My first childhood memory is of playing football in our back garden. I was completely obsessed with the game; I’d keep scrapbooks and read myriad books and magazines on football. Unfortunately, when you’re young you absorb information like a sponge, so I can still remember useless facts like the names of players from obscure teams in the mid 1980’s, and every FA Cup winner from the 1950’s to the 1990’s, yet I can barely remember what I had for dinner last night. I always wanted to be Bryan Robson or the Brazilian star Zico – the first time I watched football on TV was the 1982 World Cup when both of those players were fantastic. I was transfixed by the whole tournament, and I think I watched the Brazilians open-mouthed most of the time because they were so, so good.
It’s no secret that I wanted to be a footballer, and I did get pretty close to realising that dream. However, being a football TV presenter and writer is without doubt the next best thing.
Is there something you know now that you have wished you have known when you were first starting out as a sports presenter?
I came into TV presenting after a pretty lengthy career as a journalist and magazine editor, so I’ve just enjoyed the ride to be honest. The only thing I’ve not enjoyed are those few weeks leading up to the end of your contract when you’re sweating on it being renewed! Mind you, if I had wanted a safe vocation I wouldn’t have chosen a career in the media.
Looking back at the challenges you have gone through, any tips or advice for people looking to go to the same craft?
I’m not sure I’ve been in the industry long enough to be dishing out advice, but I would always fall back on the title of a self-help book that was very popular a few years ago: Feel The Fear And Do It Anyway. That’s my mantra. There are times when TV presenting feels like the easiest thing in the world, yet there are other occasions when, for no apparent reason, you’re consumed with anxiety about what you’re about to it. When you are in that position, just embrace those fears and get on with it.
What do you think is the future of Sports in TV? Are there any biggest concerns?
The quality of television shows in general has been ramped up enormously in the past few years, highlighted by big time Hollywood actors suddenly starring in TV programmes, which didn’t happen previously. The quality of those TV shows as well as new technology has changed the way people watch TV – a lot of the time viewers will take in a box-set rather than tune it at the same time every week to watch a particular programme.
However, sport, by virtue of its live nature, is immune from that shift – a live sporting event is something that you have to watch in real time to fully appreciate. For that reason I think the future of sports on TV is very healthy, as long as we continue to innovative with our support content.
Watching live sport on the move on phones and tablets has been a game-changer. I’m not just saying it because I work for them, but the SingTel TV Go App, which has enabled me to watch Premier League games on my iPad, is outstanding, and it’s stopped the wife and I from arguing over the TV remote control every weekend, which can only be a good thing…
Read more about Richard Lenton here