Monday, August 24, 2009

Wake Up NBC

The withdrawal has started. Ten days of track and field are at an end. The World Championships in Berlin were incredible. The only reason I know this is because I watched almost all of it on the internet thanks to Universal Sports, a division of NBC.

The trio of announcers used by Universal were fabulous. There knowledge and insight put to shame the efforts on NBC Sports. The three, Steve Ovett, Stuart Storey, and Peter (didn't catch his last night) gave wonderful commentary and added jabs of humor throughout their long days of work.

Steve Ovett, a Brit now living in Australia, was one of the best milers in the world in the late 1970's and early 1980's. He won Olympic gold in the 800 meters in Moscow and I had to watch his gritty performance in Los Angeles where respiratory problems brought him to his knees.

NBC's announcers just plain suck. Tom Hammond and Lewis Johnson are clueless. Thank God there was no Carol Lewis. Ato Boldin does a very good job with the sprints as does Dwight Stones with the field events.

NBC completely missed the drama in the two big races on the last day of the meet competed on the track. The United States had three men in the 5000 meters and three women in the 1500. Lewis Johnson sounded like he had pounded down about three Red Bulls as he jabbered on nonsenically through the 5000. Meanwhile on Universal the trio of announcers noted the subtle tactics and surges that were taking place in the race.

The worst came in the 1500 meters. With about 200 meters to go the Spanish runner Rodriguez basically ran through an Ethopian runner Burka, sending her sprawling to the track. Rodriguez ended up sprinting away to victory. The NBC announce crew barely noted the collision and went to break after the race. It was clear a foul had been committed but you wouldn't know it watching NBC.

Watching the Universal feed the outrage was instantaneous. The announcers immediately noted the foul and as soon as the race finished started questioning whether Rodriguez would be disqualified. They showed multiple replays and gave definitive opinions about the incident.

NBC would later come back from a break and note that Rodriguez had indeed been disqualified and an American, Shannon Rowbury moved up to the bronze medal. But it completely lacked the drama and insight offered by the Universal Sports crew. NBC needs to swallow its pride and jetison the Tom Hammond gang and bring the crew over from Universal Sports.

1 comment:

  1. By watching mainstream coverage you'd think the only newsworthy item was the dispute over whether one of female runners is really a woman. Geez.