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  • TV coverage of Prefontaine meet

    Am I the only one who would prefer to see an edited version of the meet with more action?

    Why show all the false starts in real time (and it seems that the rule change is having the effect of ensuring at least one false start for all the short events)?

    Personally, I'd prefer to see a few more laps of the 5000, which now only takes about 14 minutes to show in its entirety. And please don't tell me it is too boring to watch people run around in circles for 12.5 laps when people will sit for hours to watch race cars go in circles or to see every one of Tiger Woods' shots followed by watching him walk down the fairway. I've never seen just the kickoff and last minute of a football or basketball game sandwiched around a bunch of advertisements. Every pitch of a baseball game is shown, not just the hits, errors, and scoring plays.

    I've also never seen the action of (even an arena) football game interrupted to hype track and field (OK, I've never actually watched an entire arena football game, but I bet they show every play, and most of them multiple times from several different angles). Couldn't they have used an inset picture to hype the upcoming AFL game? Come to think of it, maybe they could start doing all the athelete interviews that way. Then at least if you'd rather watch a race instead, you could.

  • #2
    Re: TV coverage of Prefontaine meet

    The commentary was AWFUL. Dan O'Brien brought nothing to the broadcast. His "analysis" was rarely anything more than just repeating what Dwight Stones had said. Steve Holman was bland, and Stones made many [uncharacteristic] mistakes, esp. in the men's mile. He missed the splits and gave the wrong time for Alan Webb.

    In the 5K they focused on Bob Kennedy at first but never told us where he finished.

    Ana Guevera was almost ignored in the 400 until after she kicked butt.

    Ditto Kelli White in the 100.

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    • #3
      Re: TV coverage of Prefontaine meet

      >Ana Guevera was
      >almost ignored in the 400 until after she kicked
      >butt.

      I also thought this was very strange. I know that Stones et al are very knowledgeable about track (duh), so I was perplexed why they would focus on a woman who has been totally off her form of late and ignore the woman has to be the almost unquestioned favorite at the world championships.
      "Run fast and keep turning left."

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      • #4
        Re: TV coverage of Prefontaine meet

        >The commentary was AWFUL. Dan O'Brien brought
        >nothing to the broadcast. His "analysis" was
        >rarely anything more than just repeating what
        >Dwight Stones had said. Steve Holman was bland,
        >and Stones made many [uncharacteristic] mistakes,
        >esp. in the men's mile. He missed the splits and
        >gave the wrong time for Alan Webb.

        I assume that the splits are being handed to him and he simply reads them on the air. There was a scoreboard problem with Webb's final time.

        Dwight is still better than Rawson.

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        • #5
          Re: TV coverage of Prefontaine meet

          Part of my job while working in the TV booth is to feed splits to the announcers in case they don't notice when they appear on the monitors. I told Steve Holman that I would get splits for the H.S. kids, but Dwight was in the middle of something else at the time and never heard me say that.

          So when I wrote Magness's 59.2 on a card that I slipped to him after the 1/4, he assumed it was for the leaders, since that is normally what I would give him. I believe he quickly corrected himself, and there wasn't a problem with the remaining splits (at least that I can remember).

          As for the Webb screwup, I knew that he was far back at the bell, so I started concentrating on Magness's finish. I saw that Webb finished well, but I didn't look at the clock. I got Magness in 4:00.97 and fed that to Dwight.

          By then, the results for the top finishers were popping up on the scoreboard, and when I saw "Webb-3:54.43", I quickly wrote a note to Dwight, who gave his excited reaction. (The scoreboard soon changed to read "Lunn-3:54.43")

          Even though this was a taped-delay show, it was treated as "live"(the only editing was done for the field events), so everything was happening "bang-bang". Poor excuse for me not questioning Webb's time, but it happened.
          Even Webb got fooled for a moment until the correction was made.

          As for people who are still questioning Webb's progress, 3:58 is no great shakes, but it's a step forward and the only American to beat him in the race was Jason Lunn. (He finished ahead of Aden and Stember and Lassiter dropped out)

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          • #6
            Re: TV coverage of Prefontaine meet

            I agree with your perspective regarding O'Brien and Holman. Dwight on the other was performing in the role of an "anchor" for the first time that I remember. He always performs well in his usual role as "color guy", cut him some slack. Perhaps he needs a Tom Hammond in a set up role despite what has been posted on this site recently.

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            • #7
              Re: TV coverage of Prefontaine meet

              Here's a request for meet directors at televised meets. Instead of race numbers, print the athletes last name on the bib. Stanford does a good of this for their meets, icluding the Big Meet against Cal. It's very hard to distinquish who the athletes are pre-race, especially when mostly everyone is wearing Nike's latest red and white outfits.

              The sport is not viewer friendly when no one can tell one runner from another.

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              • #8
                Re: TV coverage of Prefontaine meet

                the telecast wasn't too bad guys.
                a few mistakes here and there, but they showed all of the races and even some field events.
                dwight stones was trying to do too much as anchor, play by play and analyst. dan o' brien is an "amateur" commentator, i have only seen him do a few telecasts a year (mostly in the northwest).
                holman was actually better than rawson, liquori and many other people who have tried to comment on middle distance races.
                with the exception of a few laps in the 5k and the shot they showed everything else. overall grade B-. hopefully it will be much better in four weeks at the usatf.

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                • #9
                  Re: TV coverage of Prefontaine meet

                  Re: names vs. numbers on the bib. It's a trade-off. I personally prefer seeing the names on the bibs. Gives the athletes some individuality, and is definitely better for the fans in the stands. However, for TV folks it's not so user-friendly to have names instead of numbers. I got an email from Tim Hutchins in Britain, saying that he hoped we were using numbers, as the names at the Oregon Track Classic were very hard for their spotters to pick up while they were doing their voice-overs of the TV feed. Having done some color commentary myself, I can second the fact that names are tough to make out. Perhaps larger letters, and abbreviations...? "KIPG" for Kipkosgei? Might work.

                  Another problem for us at Pre is we do not use tyvek numbers, which, while cheesy, do lend themselves to last-minute printing of names. The special material we use (have you ever noticed how well the Pre Classic numbers show up in photos?) would require each name to be screen-printed on, which would be extremely laborious and not practical with all of the last-minutes adds to the meet.

                  So, as far as the Pre Classic goes, at least for now, you'll just have to depend upon the accuracy of the commentators.

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                  • #10
                    Re: TV coverage of Prefontaine meet

                    The meet was great - the coverage was mediocre. If we have to deal with seeing it a day late, why on earth would you not edit the errors out? Was there supposed to be some suspense? Do a little background as each event is getting ready to go and then show the event. Stop screwing field events and lose the false starts and false calls. In a majority of the races, the caller did not see the obvious leader until the finish and then acted like the runner had suddenly just bolted out of the pack. C'mon guys - you can do better.

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                    • #11
                      Re: TV coverage of Prefontaine meet

                      >If we have to deal with seeing it a day late, why
                      >on earth would you not edit the errors out?

                      Right, this was the point I originally wanted to make. Although I cringe each time I hear Rawson tell us that 400 meters is once around a high school track, or that we should go go over to our local high school track and see how fast we can run around it just once, then notice that El G (or whoever) is most certainly running much faster than that for multiple laps, it wouldn't bother me so much if they would just show a few complete distance races (1500 seems to be the longest the producers think we will watch) and more than one or two attempts in the field events.

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                      • #12
                        Re: TV coverage of Prefontaine meet

                        Once again, we get the "Track Meet for Dummies" treatment from the networks. One of these days some network exec is going to figure out that the "vast wasteland of TV" can actually elevate fan interest by telling them something they don't know. Am I the only one who would rather watch the rest of the field finish a distance race instead of watching the winner bend over and pant? And I would get more out of a fouled field attempt (with appropriate technique commentary) as I would watching some baseball player scratch and step out of the batter's box ten times. The saddest part of all is that tightly run meets like Pre, Golden Spike events, and top European meets are designed to be fan friendly by limiting the events and fields -- the best the sport has to offer. To short-change them not only disappoints the core audience, but continues to under-represent the sport.

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                        • #13
                          Re: TV coverage of Prefontaine meet

                          Oh, that reminds me - if and when we ever get a LIVE meet - keep the clock running and stay on the finish line!! As Magness neared the finish, the camera was zooming back and forth trying to decide what to watch and we got virtually nothing. Say the unofficial time ('good' meets have a finish line clock stopped by a beam) of the winner, but then stay with the rest of the field and keep a superimposed clock still running. Hey, this ain't rocket science guys!

                          O'Brien, one of my favorite athletes of all-time better come up with something more than the obvious or he'll have to sit on the bench with Carol. Stones is still good, Rawson is good if he can lay off the 'go down to your local track and see if you can run one lap at these guys' pace', and Ernie needs to come up with some better questions. The best are 'where do you go from here? What are your plans and what can you run this summer?' I AM thankful for the meets we get, but a day late and a dollar short (editing) just frustrates the fire out of me.

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                          • #14
                            Re: TV coverage of Prefontaine meet

                            >Oh, that reminds me - if and when we ever get a
                            >LIVE meet - keep the clock running and stay on
                            >the finish line!! As Magness neared the finish,
                            >the camera was zooming back and forth trying to
                            >decide what to watch and we got virtually
                            >nothing. Say the unofficial time ('good' meets
                            >have a finish line clock stopped by a beam) of
                            >the winner, but then stay with the rest of the
                            >field and keep a superimposed clock still
                            >running. Hey, this ain't rocket science
                            >guys!

                            I think we can all agree with this common sense suggestion, which need not be limited to live meets. And obviously, false starts and gross misstatements should be edited out of a taped show.
                            O'Brien and Holman are green, but given time I think they'll find their groove and be a big improvement on their predecessors - perhaps even by the end of this season. Same for Stones doing play-by-play and all events, rather than just field updates. All I ask is that the announcer have some knowledge of the sport, either as a former high-performance athlete or as a true fan. For example, I'll take Holman uttering "uh" every other word any day over Hammond reading aloud bios and definitions about the sport. At least Holman and O'Brien have some knowledge of what they talk about.

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                            • #15
                              Re: TV coverage of Prefontaine meet

                              I agree that Holman will do an excellent job once he gets rid of a few jitters. Steve is an intelligent young man, and one who knows the sport. Be patient, give him another meet or two and I'm sure he'll be just fine!

                              Holman Fan From Minnesota

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