You're Doing It Wrong
The novelty of the national championship game in 3-D drew in a couple bloggers whose opinions I respect, and their reviews were pretty much the same: the 3-D effect is cool but most prominent when you're on a sideline shot, which is a crappy angle to watch a game from. Both Dr. Saturday and Bill Harris of Dubious Quality seemed disappointed with the direction, which is to be expected when you're testing out a system FROM THE FUTURE.
But what struck me was the way in which the spare production values seemed a benefit, not a drawback. Dr. Saturday:
I don't know that the "feel" had as much to do with the 3-D, though, as it did with the shockingly spare production. The broadcast usually lingered on the field during TV timeouts, stealing shots of players huddling on the sideline, cheerleaders (who look great, although they kept showing the Florida cheerleaders in much longer takes than necessary, and never made it around to Oklahoma's squad) and the crowd. Sometimes they caught coaches arguing with the refs or doing something interesting. You can see 3-D Tim Tebow hovering at the edge of the offensive huddle, waiting until the last possible second to take his headset off. There were no wooshing graphics or promos to fill empty space, only the announcers, Kenny Albert and Tim Ryan, who were often silent for long stretches during these timeouts. The feeling was exactly what you'd experience during a TV timeout if you were actually in the stadium, which may not sound like much fun. But compared to the usual cacophony of commercials, I really appreciated the broadcast remaining almost entirely on the scene without the usual bells and whistles.
(Also, that post's comments have one of the best descriptions of a blog I've ever seen: EDSBS is "college football smashed through a Decemberists song.")
And Bill Harris:
The biggest difference, and this is what surprised me most, was in the presentation. No scoreboard overlay. Almost no statistical overlays. In other words, we didn't see a bunch of useless crap and network pimping on the screen. No American Idol overlays. No website whoring. No stupid-ass, giant arrows on the field telling us down and distance, just like the scoreboard overlay is already telling us. All we saw was football.
That was absolutely great.
Harris sums up pithily: "there is zero respect for content these days."
Maybe the revolutionary aspect of this 3D experience isn't Captain EO in helmets but an alternative broadcast that diehards can access in exchange for money. If you were a Florida or Oklahoma fan, how much would you have paid to exchange the Fox broadcast with something pitched at your interests instead of people who watch college football once a year?
I've mentioned this before: the problem with sports broadcasting is that people who already care have to watch. They have no alternative. So broadcasters are free to wholly ignore their wishes and cater their coverage to people who don't care, with a heavy slice of corporate whoredom. QED: Monday Night Football's weekly 15-minute interview with a celebrity totally unrelated to football.
But we're entering an age where virtually anyone can broadcast in real time over the internet, when television bandwidth and sophistication can easily provide for alternative views on the game. How long will it take before someone creates an alternative broadcast a little more sophisticated than "Orson and Peter get drunk during a bowl game"? (Which is great but probably not something you can monetize.)
I hope the answer to this is "not long." Someone, anyone, create a pilot program, a PPV version of a game available for free except with, like, Sean McDonough and Chris Spielman and no ads and no Tebotheosis and no impulse for me to put the TV on mute. This equals cash money for you.
I think the reason I like MGoBlog is the use of words like "Tebotheosis." Because when all else fails, when our team is 3-9 and Michigan State is OMG stealing our in-state recruits, we still know bigger words than you do.
Was that a reference to "Mr. Mom" in the headline Brian? I love this f-ing blog.
I had commented on this back in the haloscan days, but my ideal broadcast would be in the flavor of the NFL Films feed. Can you imagine true on the field sound, not some bogus "miked-up" moment.
Essentially a warts-and-all broadcast of the game with the access that the NFL films guys have for college or pro ball.
I would pay good money for that in a PPV format.
It would never happen because the NFL (and I'm sure the NCAA) wants to control its product presentation. (Hard to sell kids the Tom Brady jersey after he's said 'motherfucker' on TV.) Also, in a live broadcast too much info would be available to the opposing team. I would be willing to pay for a delayed boadcast to avoid the second problem. However, once the delayed broadcast was edited, would it be worth the price?
A couple of things:
(1) They did the same thing (re: cheerleaders, sidelines, bands) during the PSU/USC game. They showed the PSU cheerleaders exactly once during the game. As a guy, I'm clearly not complaining that they showed USC's cheerleaders more often, but if I were a PSU fan I'd be pretty pissed.
(2) As far as the broadcast choice angle I agree with you 100%. The biggest area where this issue comes up from me is hockey. We have DirecTv and subscribe to Center Ice because we want to see all of the team I cheer for's games. This is awesome because I get about 70 of said games on the local FSN feed with my team's broadcast team. This is awesome, especially since I do not live in said team's market. However, this totally blows during the approximately 12 times per year that my team plays on either NBC or Versus. For these games the broadcast team that is supposedly neutral because it is on a national broadcast is invariably a broadcast team made up of announcers that are actually the home broadcast announcers for one of the teams (Emerick = Devils, Olcyzk = Blackhawks, Benanati = Capitals, etc.) who bring their preformed biases and opinions into the game. They are also invariably less knowledgeable about the two teams in the game than would be the case if they, I don't know, actually followed the two teams every single game. This is the feeling that I always get during the Fox college football broadcasts because they bring in people who don't, oh I don't know, actually follow college football as a career. What a novel concept. As you suggest, I really think that the days of the national broadcast as the only option are pretty near numbered in almost every major sport because fans are willing to pay to have a broadcast of their choosing; not a fake "neutral" broadcast. College sports will probably be the last to go since there aren't really "home team broadcasts" like there are in pro sports, but really there isn't any reason that there couldn't be.
The most entertained I have ever been by announcers is in a rebroadcast of an English Premeire game (Soccer for those who didnt know). They rebroadcast the game at a later date with one fan from each team doing all the announcing. It is fantastic to watch and far more entertaining than neutral parties. Hearing the two fans go back and forth is priceless. Just like I would rather go back to the days of Bob Ufer, I I would rather have announcers with vested interest in the outcome of the game. Imagine the UM OSU game done by two fans. A fight might break out in the middle of the game, it would be fantastic.
Am I the only one who likes the scorebug? Admittedly not so much for a game I will be watching from start to finish, but for the "you know, nothing else is on, let's join this in progress" games? I really appreciate both the scorebug and the first and ten line, even if it means some corporate whoring.
Shut the announcers the hell up and eliminate the commercials and I'll be happy.
that Duke had a "home team" announcer by the name of Dick Vitale?
I know this will freak some out but I use the DVR for EVERYTHING -- even "live games".
If you do something else and start the football game on your DVR about 1 hour after "real time", you can skip all the crap (including the gawd awful halftime) and catch up about 1 minute before the game ends (unless it goes to O.T.).
BTW, this also adds hours and hours and hours to my life of things I consider more important than the crap advertisements, etc.
And, yes, this is one way I do "Enjoy Life".
is if you have any friends elsewhere who are also watching the game. These friends invariably text me - constantly -during the game (which is cool because we share the joy/pain of the battle). I've tried your suggestion, and I got PING after PING after PING of texts, which I had to ignore. It was maddening. I finally broke down and caught up to the live action, compelled find out what all the fuss was about!
Cell phones have this awesome feature called a power button. If you press it, it turns the phone off and you won't get those text messages that make you wonder what you're missing. Pretty neat feature.
Caup, does that mean you text message while watching the game at U/M stadium?
I agree with Clarence, turn it off or ignore it.
But some of us enjoy the social interaction that comes with sporting events. I happen to like conversing with friends about the game, not holing myself into a dark room and ignoring the outside world just to avoid a few commercials.
I agree with that, that's why I watch them live. I've tried it the other way though. All I was meaning is that if you really want to avoid the commercials you have to make an effort to do so.
Well, actually, we all get together at my house (DVR, 60" HDTV) and we all watch the game "not in real time".
Even in real time, don't you rewind, replay at super slow mo, stop the frame to review the game during commercials rather than watch commercials?
i live in the back of my Taurus behind a strip mall. if best buy isn't showing the game on their TV (and it's usually on that Michael McDonald fellow or a Rolling Stones concert) I don't get to watch the game at all.
Sometimes the radio goes in slow motion when I am draining the battery trying to cook a hot dog with the cigarette lighter though.
How much do you think it would cost (from the University/BigTen) to get rights to create a broadcast?
How long will it take before someone creates an alternative broadcast a little more sophisticated than "Orson and Peter get drunk during a bowl game"?
Sadly, since the TV companies pay large sums of money in order to exclusively cater their coverage to people who don't care, with a heavy slice of corporate whoredom, this is probably going to get shut down the minute it becomes a worthwhile alternative. At least until those in charge care more about giving fans what they want instead of absolutely maximizing profit at our expense, which won't be in any of our lifetimes.
would be having the option to just turn the commentators off - just like in a video game. I like the yellow line and ESPN's scoreline at the top (because it shows the number of TO's each team has) and I can put up with commercials and stat graphics.
I just really wish I could listen to the PA announcer, the crowd, and the bands without having to tolerate the inane babble spewing forth from Paul McGuire/Gary Danielson/Pam Ward/et. al.
For instance, if I'm watching a big SEC game on Saturday night,
I can hear how amped up the crowd is and I can feel the atmopshere. I don't need anyone to tell me how big the game is or how great that last play was when I can experience it for myself.
One of the most enjoyable hockey games I have ever watched on TV was a Canucks game last year on Center Ice where it was exactly that. No announcers, just game sounds, crowd noise and a PA announcer. I have no idea what went wrong with the broadcast (as I can't imagine it was intentional), but it was great!
Has anyone ever seen a game with two color guys and no PBP? To me, PBP guys on TV always seemed left over from radio days. I am watching the game, why do I need someone to describe it to me? But color guys, the good ones, often make games more entertaining (why this play worked, why this one didn't). I have never seen a game done like this, but I think it would be infinitely better.
I think that was Collinsworth and Hammond.... It was a trainwreck. Collinsworth is OK as a color guy; Hammond blows. Together, it was a mess.
"But we're entering an age where virtually anyone can broadcast in real time over the internet, when television bandwidth and sophistication can easily provide for alternative views on the game. How long will it take before someone creates an alternative broadcast a little more sophisticated than "Orson and Peter get drunk during a bowl game"?"
The problem here is that anyone can send a broadcast over the internet, but you still need expensive equipment and qualified professionals to provide high-quality video images of the game. This isn't like providing an alternative to newspaper columnists, where you can contribute if you have a website, the ability to string together coherent sentences and some level of insight on a particular subject; television production is hard and expensive. If those alternative broadcasts are going to involve the networks' video, there's going to have to be a real incentive for the networks.
Hey sarge, no way is "the ability to string together coherent sentences and some level of insight on a particular subject" a prerequisite for a blog.
Well, really, internet access is the only prerequisite for a blog (basic literacy could make the list too, I suppose). But the ability to string together coherent sentences and some level of insight on a particular subject are prerequisites for a blog worth reading. Otherwise you're just a youtube commenter who broke out and is running loose in the internet.