Tuesday, February 15, 2011

Why Baseball is Better Than Football (Day 3 - Broadcasts)

Previously on k-bro's baseball blog... spring training outranks two-a-days by a long shot, and... baseball offers more games, and more games equals more fun.

On tonight's episode: broadcasting.

(See what I did there? Since I'm talking about broadcasting, I made it sound like a TV show. Yeah; lame.)


Baseball, and the networks that broadcast it, are enjoying unprecedented viewership and revenues over the past few years. Of course, football games receive wide, national audiences, but each team only plays once a week. Baseball on the other hand airs several games per week, but usually each game is shown to two markets. While it's true that no one baseball game draws as many eyes as any one football game, consider all the games over a week's time through all the markets. Cumulatively, baseball draws nearly as much revenue as football.

With all that being said, the experience of watching baseball games on television is much better than it is for football. Like I said, football games are shown to a very wide audience. Crews and announcers from FOX, CBS, NBC, and ESPN swoop into host cities, set up, air the game, and flee. As the announcers call the games, they try to fill in downtime with tidbits of info fed to them by the producers and research assistants who've read up as much as they can about the participating teams. The announcers don't care about one team over any other. And because of that, when they do talk about your favorite team, they probably won't really give you too much in-depth information about it.

However, most baseball games are aired only in the two interested markets with dedicated broadcast crews. These folks spend the entire season with the teams and travel with them. If they want to know something about a player that they can relate to the audience, they just go talk to him. The announcers are invested in the team and they are familiar what's important to the fans. They understand the players, the quirks of the team, and the background info fans enjoy. They do, and they should, show a bit of favoritism to help generate more interest.They like their teams, and they help us to like them more.


Football radio broadcasts don't follow the same model as television broadcasts. In fact, they do it the same way baseball does, with a dedicated crew. So the radio personalities aren't really the issue. However, because of the nature of the game -- very short burst of intense activity followed by long stretches of inactivity, then all over again -- it's just plain hard for listeners to keep up with the action. In reality, football is meant to be watched.

Baseball, however, is perfectly suited for radio. When the activity gets exciting, it doesn't happen so fast such that announcer becomes unintelligible. And there's just something perfect about having a baseball game on the radio as you're doing chores outside or driving in your car. Baseball, and the great radio voices who have brought it to fans over the years, makes a great companion. It's been that way for generations. 

Stay tuned for scenes from our next episode: Playing

(Get it? I did it again...)


ScruffyRube said...

The only part about baseball broadcasts that I don't like is when the broadcasters try to make it more like football.

I don't need massive robot graphics whirring to show me on-base-percentages, nor do I need super slow motion ultra zoom shots of a gloved finger sliding under the tag (he's safe/he's out...let's see what the pitcher does next...)

Realistically this only applies to Joe Buck...I hate Joe Buck...get rid of him and I'm a happy camper

Eric Pleiss said...

On television, football usually gives us a better broadcast. We don't always get great announcers (I too loathe Joe Buck) but football always has very knowledgeable announcers and sideline reporters. The product is better on NFL games, but it has to be, they only have one shot, and the game lends itself better to a more "exciting" live television broadcast.

Baseball wins on the radio. Always has, always will. I think you nailed it.