Network Sports

Recently two sports events on TV got me to comparing the three big network sports presentations with the normal or speciality sport channels coverage of two different events, the World Cup Soccer matches with ESPN and ABC and the Formula One races with Speed Channel and CBS. What don't the network channels get about being decent and intelligent? How about getting rid of the hype?

The first was CBS's presentation of a recent Formula One race which Speed Channel has most of the events during the season. I've watched CBS's past presentations of F-1 races and they're a disaster to the point I turn off the sound. Why do they have to make every small thing a big thing? They have to explain everything forgetting most of the viewer are fans anyway, so stop dumbing down the show. You can present information in an informed way as Speed Channel does with Steve Windsor and their pre-race show.

It's the announcers that really bug me there. They bring in experts then don't allow them to do what they do best, explain. They keep hyping things about the drivers, cars, and teams than informing. Geez, give the viewer a break, there's plenty of on-line and print information about this, so summarize in a professional way. I like Sam Posey and other drivers CBS brought on the show but they weren't allowed to talk very much to really explain things and the action.

As for the World Cup matches, all was excellent until ABC did the final match with Brent Musburger. What's with him? Did he want a free trip to Berlin? He wasn't good as a host, but then I've never liked him since the 1995 New York - Seattle baseball playoff series he broadcast. His bias showed to the extreme and every since then he expresses opinions rather then expertise. So please ABC, find someone better.

And to all of them, please stop the network hype. ESPN showed the soccer matches in their entirely before breaks and had excellent halftime shows. But the big three networks hyped their coverage and ads than with the show during the show, and CBS was especially bad at this with Formula One races, breaking during the race with minutes of ads for no reasons and without regard to the racing, often interrupting at interesting action.

It was really annoying to watch the show for ads about the network, showing clips of primetime shows and news, and other mindless space-filler in the middle of the action. On top of that both ABC and CBS hyped their own coverage of the event than covering the event. It's like, "See how great we're doing. We'll tell you all about us doing the show." Stop! We'll be the judge of that.

My point? Simple. If it's a big three network sports event, Baseball and NFL excluded as they seem to have their act together there most of the time, although Monday Night Football is more entertainment than sports, and excepting the occasional celebrity who thinks they're smart, give the viewers a break and credit for some intelligence. And stop interrupting the show with meaningless ads about the network and the show.

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WSR V2.8, January 2013