Cory's Corner: Sports on TV must dumb down coverage

I thought about this several times last year during the NFL season, but it crystallized when I was watching this past weekend’s U.S. Open at Chambers Bay.

Have games on TV become too Nintendoish?

What I mean by that is it seems every broadcaster is trying appeal to the younger demographic with crazy graphics, sound effects and oodles of camera angles.

Sports on TV was teetering on life support when the famed telestrator was introduced to the viewing public. That allowed guys like John Madden and Phil Simms to mark up the screen and totally confuse everyone.

But the telestrator as we knew it is a fossil.  Now there’s a graphic that tells us the angle and flight path of the golf ball, microphones in the hole and confusing topographic green charts that do nothing but bewilder the audience.

Now I’m coming off as a crusty curmudgeon. You’re probably saying, “Who are you?” Actually I’m a guy that loves gadgets. The question is, when do networks stop?

After seeing the intros for the NBA Finals, I cringe when thinking of the day when stats and game information will just be superimposed on the field. Or the fact that you can see just about every angle of a replay in 15 seconds from your couch, but it’s usually an extended delay if you’re at the stadium.

The NFL showed how concerned they were with fan attendance last year by trying to implement things that are different from the in-game experience than the home experience. Things like seeing the pregame locker room experience, topped the list, but the majority of fans don’t make it past security early enough to take advantage of such of a “perk.”

If the NFL really wants to push in-game attendance, they have to limit the TV technology. Televisions are so good now, that fans are being forced to think twice. Most people have high-definition, but now there’s ultra-high-definition and 3-D. Why would someone want to trudge through security and wait through four first downs to grab a beer when they can see it at home on their sparkling 75-inch monster?

The answer for sports is to force TV networks to dumb down their coverage. Just give folks the basics, but make sure that fans at the stadium always get a whisper more of information and insight than the ones on the couch.

Sports are at a crossroads right now. Young fans have the attention span of a gnat combined with multiple devices at their fingertips.

It’s time to stop the purity of the actual game to be portrayed as a video game. Because if it doesn’t, in a few years fans will just stay home for the smorgasbord of graphics and visual stimulation they’ll get just from watching on the couch.

The game is still the most important part. That should be a priority. 

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Cory Jennerjohn is a graduate from UW-Oshkosh and has been in sports media for over 15 years. He was a co-host on "Clubhouse Live" and has also done various radio and TV work as well. He has written for newspapers, magazines and websites. He currently is a columnist for CHTV and also does various podcasts. He recently earned his Masters degree from the University of Iowa. He can be found on Twitter: @Coryjennerjohn

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Comments (11)

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TarynsEyes's picture

June 23, 2015 at 02:47 pm

But,it makes the average athlete look super human. :)

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Since'61's picture

June 23, 2015 at 03:16 pm

Cory - there is way too much money involved to stop the technology. Soon the technology will create an in game experience at home that is as good as or better than the actual stadium experience. When that happens the games will become pay per view. this will allow a team like the Packers to sell season tickets to millions of fans instead of 80,000 or so. Probably have a separate package for the road games as well. You believe the game is the most important part but it's not, the money is. At least for the owners and the networks. Thanks, Since '61

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Thegreatreynoldo's picture

June 24, 2015 at 01:32 am

"You believe the game is the most important part but it's not, the money is. At least for the owners and networks."

You left out the players.

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johnnyd17's picture

June 23, 2015 at 04:05 pm

the faux network, new at covering golf, terrible at football, and worse at anything else...

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Amanofthenorth's picture

June 23, 2015 at 05:55 pm

All is a hologram

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Imma Fubared's picture

June 23, 2015 at 07:05 pm

Could not did agree less. My big beef with golf is the commentators trying to explain how the green has a ridge in it or dips off to the left! A graphic of what they are talking about would do a lot to show what the golfer is facing! My TV is flat! It doesn' t depict ridges and greens that aren't flat!

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Mr.Bigg's picture

June 23, 2015 at 10:13 pm

Technology can set us free too. Channel 5.1 has the regular broadcast. 5.2 has the minimalist broad cast. 5.3 channel has the geek broadcast with deep information and break downs of defences etc.

5.4 has the cheesehead commentary.

Variety of telecasts that is what i want to see.

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croatpackfan's picture

June 24, 2015 at 03:30 am

Cory, right on spot. But this is future nobody can change... Unfortunately.

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EddieLee's picture

June 24, 2015 at 01:15 pm

As far as the NFL- The TV slice of the revenue pie dwarfs the ticket sales slice. Teams could play in empty stadiums and still make money just off TV revenue. No way they are going to dumb down TV to encourage people to buy tickets. TV ad revenue is the cash cow with room for growth and they will continue to push that experience foward. And, you will never surpass the game day experience in your living room no matter how nice your TV. (I am imagining a brisk Lambeau night game listening to Favre bark "Blue 58" in an eerily quiet stadium with 70,000 fans ready to explode) If the "young fans" prefer staring at their gadget between plays in their family room then that means cheaper tickets for us real fans who are ready to make noise for our team, high five strangers after big plays, and create lifelong memories.

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Thegreatreynoldo's picture

June 26, 2015 at 12:51 pm

Brilliant, EddieLee. TV is the cash cow, and the NFL will do nothing to imperil the TV revenue. Instead, the NFL and the TV networks will do all that they can to improve the technology in order to get more people to watch. Should the NFL want to dumb down TV for reasons inexplicable to me, the networks will have a lot to say about it.

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WilliamHolcomb's picture

April 22, 2021 at 06:31 am

I am happy to read this info

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