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  • Millrose TV

    i didn't watch, so I can't pass judgment, but one T&FN reader just sent us this letter to the editor:

    <<There needs to be an investigation into the shameful and shabby coverage of
    the 104th Millrose Games presented by ESPN2. If it turns out the
    embarrassingly bad coverage was due to gross incompetance, then everybody
    involved in the fiasco should be fired. On the other hand, if it turns out
    the coverage was deliberate, then the New York City District Attorney should
    file criminal charges against everybody involved in the heinous act.

    On Friday, January 28th, I tuned into ESPN2 in the hopes of seeing an indoor
    track meet with a bearable amount of up close and personal interviews. What
    I saw instead was a mockery of track and field coverage. There were no
    splits or lap indicators given for the races. I couldn't even try and guess
    at the splits or the laps because of the way the camera angle kept changing
    and zooming in on the lead runner most of the time. That is for the few
    races ESPN2 deemed necessary to show as filler when they ran out of up close
    and personal interviews to show.

    Some of the best runners in the world were racing, and what does ESPN2
    broadcast when they do show a race? A group of six year old kids running the
    40 meter dash. I can only guess the up close and personal interview with the
    winner was an attempt to rub our noses in the... coverage.

    ESPN2 was so out of control with the up close and personal interviews that
    at one point I thought I had changed the channel by accident and was
    watching a re-run of Oprah. For a span of at least 30 minutes the only way I
    could tell that I was still watching the Millrose Games were the runners
    that would flash by in the background as the commentators blathered on and
    on. Who knows what races were going on in the background, because nobody
    acknowledged them.

    At one point I started to think the ESPN2 coverage of the Millrose Games was
    an elaborate practicle joke, but then I remembered it was January 28th, not
    April 1st.

    The Millrose Games were advertised as the first event of the USA Track &
    Field 2011 Indoor Championship series. If what I saw on Friday was the best
    coverage that ESPN2 could manage, whether it was due to incompetenace,
    apathy, or just plane dislike of track and field, then ESPN2 should do the
    right thing and not show the rest of the indoor track series.>>

  • #2
    Re: Millrose TV

    Really? The only elite race not shown was the men's 2-mile, and that was because the field fell apart due to scratches(the winning time was 8:48).

    Comment


    • #3
      Re: Millrose TV

      I guess my only question to the letter writer would be. Have you ever watched a US produced track and field broadcast before? What we saw Friday was just typical coverage, with a possible slight improvement in announcing.

      Comment


      • #4
        Re: Millrose TV

        I agree that the coverage is pretty terrible, but I have to be content with what I can get anymore. But if I could make changes, I would make sure that a race was shown between every commercial break. I think it was at least of some note that they added Tim Hutchings to the commentator lineup. It is nice to have someone that knows the ins and outs of distance running.

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        • #5
          Re: Millrose TV

          Regarding lack of splits and lap indicators, it wasn't much better seeing the meet live. I was lucky that I could clearly see the lap markers held up by the official, but I'm guessing at least 1/2 the audience could not. And the splits consisted of hand held digital clocks held up by the officials for the racers. At my vantage point I saw less than 25% of those clocks. Occasionally, the announcer chimed in with the splits and the laps remaining, but such information was never seen on the scoreboard. WTF? Could you imagine going to a Knicks or Rangers game and they didn't post time remaining on the scoreboard????? Can't imagine why they couldn't post time-elapsed. So basic.

          Comment


          • #6
            Re: Millrose TV

            The most pathetic thing about T&F coverage is that in terms of actual competitive action, there really isn't that many minutes, so why the heck CAN'T they show all of it?!

            In a 2-hour broadcast, there should be about 85 minutes after you take out commercial time. In the Millrose telecast there was the ratio was AT LEAST 10 to 1 of fluff vs. action. A certain amount of filler is necessary - introduction of the field, some commentary about who and what to look for, a brief (and MEANINGFUL interview of the winner (or fallen favorite)). but most of THIS telecast was indeed the same old crapola were fed every time - meaningless tripe. Brit coverage, from what I've seen on the web, has a much higher signal-to-noise ratio!!

            Show us every event and comment on it during the action. Period. The 'up-close-and-personal' bits CAN be effective, but do them while we're watching the action.

            Comment


            • #7
              Re: Millrose TV

              I have to go along with the comment that we have to take what we get. The announcers or management probably figure that they'll get the real fan to watch, as there is no other show in town. But, they want to attract other viewers.

              I do recall the old days in the early 1960s when there were a number of meets in the Garden. All were well attended. A number were shown on TV, but not on major networks, local stations. I remember watching meets for hours. Marty Glickman was an impassioned announcer, who knew the sport. There were interviews and the many college relays were shown as well.

              It's funny. There are more participants in the sport than ever before, yet the public interest in the sport is not there. I remember reading results in the NY Times. How often do you see results now. Thanks to the internet I don't have to wait for my copy of Track & Field News to come, so that I can read about meets that happened weeks before. I still do receive my monthy copy of the magazine because of its many fine features. Somethings about the 'good old days' are worth preserving, like the old comprehensive broadcasts.

              Comment


              • #8
                Re: Millrose TV

                Originally posted by PDJ551
                I have to go along with the comment that we have to take what we get. The announcers or management probably figure that they'll get the real fan to watch, as there is no other show in town. But, they want to attract other viewers.
                USATF buys this time w/ their own money (& that of sponsors). They should have 100% creative control. For some reason, this is not exercised.

                The idea that we're trying to attract a wider audience is downright dumb. Non-fans aren't likely to watch, unless by accident. They're non-fans. They have other interests. Stop pissing off the core fans to attract those who don't care. Its akin to dumping the woman who worships the ground you walk on, and who you love equally to go after the hot model who constantly rejects you and barely cares if you exist.

                Comment


                • #9
                  Re: Millrose TV

                  I posted this elsewhere, but does anyone disagree that those never-ending snippets from the 3 Multi guys were just that... never ending ?! Why not a quick one minute confab with the 3 of them being interviewed at the same time, on the floor ? Terrible.

                  Comment


                  • #10
                    Re: Millrose TV

                    Originally posted by Walt Murphy
                    Really? The only elite race not shown was the men's 2-mile, and that was because the field fell apart due to scratches(the winning time was 8:48).
                    That being the case, then I'd say the letter writer has IDed why tickets aren't selling anymore: a lack of substance. He probably assumed there were another dozen top-flight pro events that didn't get shown, like in the old days.

                    8 races and 2 field events does not a true Millrose make. Not at NYC prices.

                    Comment


                    • #11
                      Re: Millrose TV

                      Originally posted by MJR
                      The idea that we're trying to attract a wider audience is downright dumb. Non-fans aren't likely to watch, unless by accident. They're non-fans. They have other interests. Stop pissing off the core fans to attract those who don't care.
                      Zackly. As mentioned elsewhere, T&F has a HUGE potential fan-base, all the millions who participated in HS. They understand the basics of T&F, so stop making the telecasts be about fluff stuff. Show all the events and comment intelligently about

                      a. what's about to transpire
                      b. what is transpiring
                      c. what just transpired

                      and then move on. We want meat and potatoes, not fondue and quiche!!!

                      Comment


                      • #12
                        Re: Millrose TV

                        I saw the coverage, and for one who has criticized in the past, I thought it was fine. It was live, and as for splits, what a stupid comment. I mean it is an 11 lap track. Times are slower already, but if you watch the clock and pay attention to the laps, it wasn't very hard to get a sense of how fast they were going.

                        This reminds me of the criticism of the LIVE NCAA XC coverage in 2009. Some nincapoops came on the thread about how awful it was....ya ya ya....Some folks are ready to bitch at the drop of a hat.

                        Comment


                        • #13
                          Re: Millrose TV

                          I was told that the meet lacked star power. There were stars--the world's best decathletes, the best shot putters in the world, last year's best pole vaulters, the best women's sprinter, the best men's sprinters who run indoors. The best woman's hurdler was lined up but backed out legitimately ill. What the meet lacked was interesting multi-lap races. There was one, the Wanamaker, but that was it. It's always a struggle to get many top-tier American runners to compete indoors these days but this year it's even harder. We've finally got a deep crew of good American runners and now the IAAF changes the Worlds qualifying window, which makes Australia/New Zealand more appealing than indoors. Rrrr...

                          If meet management isn't going to give those in attendance any real way to follow field events, they should stop spending money on putting them in the meets. I don't see why the USA can't set up its own series of jumps or throws meets.

                          Ato Boldon had promised us vastly improved TV coverage. I don't think it was his to deliver, so I won't blame him. TV being a producer's medium, whoever they have doing it is not one of ESPN's best people to say the least.

                          Random thought...is it in Nike's long-term interest to invest in sponsoring Millrose and put its OTC athletes on the nation's biggest stage? Even if their headline names only ran half-serious races at 1000y or 1 or 2 miles, they'd still be in the media capitol of the world...

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                          • #14
                            Re: Millrose TV

                            Originally posted by gh
                            i didn't watch, so I can't pass judgment....
                            GH, my humble opinion: You should start watching -- as painful as it may be.
                            As one of the most knowledgable observers/commentators/reporters covering the sport, the way it's presented by the mass media should be something on which you editorialize with first-hand experience.

                            Comment


                            • #15
                              Re: Millrose TV

                              Originally posted by Conor Dary
                              I saw the coverage, and for one who has criticized in the past, I thought it was fine.
                              Wow - and I thought I had plebian tastes. I watched it on my DVR. It was so bloated, it only took me about 25 minutes to go through the 2 hours, and that includes my own slo-mo replays.

                              Comment

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