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Old 06-04-2007, 01:59 AM   #1
da12ken
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Angry NBA on ABC - Right Now!

The league has done a lot of things to make its product more "presentable" to fans over the past couple years:
- the NBA Cares initiative
- instituting a dress code
- zero-tolerance on complaints to officials
- a new basketball

Yet Stern & Co. fail to address the most important issue of all: the games. Now when I say games I refer to the way by which almost everyone actually experiences the NBA: via the television.

NBA on ABC is widely regarded as one of the worst sports broadcasts around. It's clearly inferior to its predecessor (NBA on NBC) as well as its contemporaries (TNT and the NCAA on CBS). Even the World Series on FOX isn't as bad as the NBA on ABC (although the BCS on FOX may make a run for the title in the coming years).

The NBA on ABC averaged a 2.0 rating during the 2006-2007 regular season. The WNBA on NBC averaged a 1.9 during the 1997 regular season. The current playoff games have averaged a 2.9 (12% lower than 2005's 3.3 record-low). For the first time ever, no playoff game drew a 4.0 rating on broadcast television. This year a Bruins-Penguins NHL game on NBC outdrew a Suns-King NBA game on NBC.

Now a couple of legitimate reasons can attribute to the awfuls ratings:
- bad match-ups (Utah vs. San Antonio? Meh)
- outside influences (all sports and TV ratings in general are down)

That being said, Sports Media Watch (a blog I'm falling straight in love with) makes a strong case for the huge declines being the fault of ABC's mediocre basketball coverage:

http://sportsmediawatch.blogspot.com...ba-part-1.html
http://sportsmediawatch.blogspot.com...a-part-ii.html

Must-read articles (and blog) IMO.

To summarize the many flaws of NBA on ABC:
- strange technical style
Floor Cam? Those dolly shots that go from rim to rim? Cutaways to celebrities? Breast shots? As much as I like the last example, all of these detract from the game? Playoff basketball is beautiful and exciting enough as it is. Furthermore, the coverage detracts from the excitement as ABC makes it a habit to tone down colors and crowd noise.

- music
My God. *****cat Dolls? I can't even type straight. Black Eyed Peas? Rob Thomas?!?! Enough said.

- play-by-play and analysts
The revolving door that leads to inconsistent and medicore playcalling.

"There have been five different NBA Finals broadcast teams in five years."

The 2007 version includes Mike Breen (a good play-by-play), flavor of the month Jeff van Gundy (terrible analyst) and Mark Jackson (really terrible analyst).

All of the above reasons and some others (pointless sideline reports come to mind) not only do little to bring in the Average Joe TV viewer into the action but also dissuades basketball fans from an increasingly-bastardized presentation. It really sickens me that the NBA on its biggest stage is being presented in such an awful way to its audience.
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Last edited by da12ken; 06-04-2007 at 02:14 AM.
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Old 06-04-2007, 10:15 AM   #2
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Quote:
Originally Posted by da12ken View Post
The league has done a lot of things to make its product more "presentable" to fans over the past couple years:
- the NBA Cares initiative
- instituting a dress code
- zero-tolerance on complaints to officials
- a new basketball

Yet Stern & Co. fail to address the most important issue of all: the games. Now when I say games I refer to the way by which almost everyone actually experiences the NBA: via the television.

NBA on ABC is widely regarded as one of the worst sports broadcasts around. It's clearly inferior to its predecessor (NBA on NBC) as well as its contemporaries (TNT and the NCAA on CBS). Even the World Series on FOX isn't as bad as the NBA on ABC (although the BCS on FOX may make a run for the title in the coming years).

The NBA on ABC averaged a 2.0 rating during the 2006-2007 regular season. The WNBA on NBC averaged a 1.9 during the 1997 regular season. The current playoff games have averaged a 2.9 (12% lower than 2005's 3.3 record-low). For the first time ever, no playoff game drew a 4.0 rating on broadcast television. This year a Bruins-Penguins NHL game on NBC outdrew a Suns-King NBA game on NBC.

Now a couple of legitimate reasons can attribute to the awfuls ratings:
- bad match-ups (Utah vs. San Antonio? Meh)
- outside influences (all sports and TV ratings in general are down)

That being said, Sports Media Watch (a blog I'm falling straight in love with) makes a strong case for the huge declines being the fault of ABC's mediocre basketball coverage:

http://sportsmediawatch.blogspot.com...ba-part-1.html
http://sportsmediawatch.blogspot.com...a-part-ii.html

Must-read articles (and blog) IMO.

To summarize the many flaws of NBA on ABC:
- strange technical style
Floor Cam? Those dolly shots that go from rim to rim? Cutaways to celebrities? Breast shots? As much as I like the last example, all of these detract from the game? Playoff basketball is beautiful and exciting enough as it is. Furthermore, the coverage detracts from the excitement as ABC makes it a habit to tone down colors and crowd noise.

- music
My God. *****cat Dolls? I can't even type straight. Black Eyed Peas? Rob Thomas?!?! Enough said.

- play-by-play and analysts
The revolving door that leads to inconsistent and medicore playcalling.

"There have been five different NBA Finals broadcast teams in five years."

The 2007 version includes Mike Breen (a good play-by-play), flavor of the month Jeff van Gundy (terrible analyst) and Mark Jackson (really terrible analyst).

All of the above reasons and some others (pointless sideline reports come to mind) not only do little to bring in the Average Joe TV viewer into the action but also dissuades basketball fans from an increasingly-bastardized presentation. It really sickens me that the NBA on its biggest stage is being presented in such an awful way to its audience.
Very thorough and thoughtful analysis on the state of NBA coverage on ABC, Ken. I miss the coverage when the playoffs were on NBC. In addition, I have really enjoyed TNT's coverage - too bad it won't continue with the finals....
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Old 06-04-2007, 11:07 AM   #3
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Great post, Ken.

The biggest problem with the NBA playoffs is having to listen to the terrible analysts on the broadcast. And the fact that they change every year, as Ken pointed out, means we are being subjected to basketball savvy guys who lack the skills to be able to dissect a game in a simplistic, broadcast-form.

The biggest thing I miss about the NBA on NBC (besides John Tesh's theme song) is the incredible chemistry that Bob Costas and Doug Collins managed to create with each other, and how remarkable a big-time broadcast and game sounds when you have two insightful and intelligent guys (or gals) calling the action.
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Old 06-04-2007, 12:01 PM   #4
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Yea, the constant changing of analysts kills the NBA on ABC constantly. Mike Breen and Hubie Brown last year was pretty decent but the suits decided Brown wasn't right for the telecasts (probably because he knew WTF he was talking about). Now we get van Gundy (who has zero TV experience if I'm not mistaken) and Jackson to make gross generalizations and dumb jokes for 48 minutes.
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Old 06-04-2007, 12:09 PM   #5
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http://sportsmediawatch.blogspot.com...t-through.html

"According to the Sports Business Daily, the NBA is close to signing an eight-year agreement with ESPN/ABC and TNT."

****.
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Old 06-05-2007, 04:28 PM   #6
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I love the TNT broadcasts, so I will not be looking forward to ABC. I do like the hire of Michael Wilbon, though. TNT's team of Marv Albert/Doug Collins/Steve Kerr (now departed) is hard to beat.
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Old 06-05-2007, 06:48 PM   #7
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Quote:
Originally Posted by da12ken View Post
http://sportsmediawatch.blogspot.com...t-through.html

"According to the Sports Business Daily, the NBA is close to signing an eight-year agreement with ESPN/ABC and TNT."

****.
As long as ABC and ESPN are joined at the hip I don't see the NBA bailing on them any time soon. Sticking with Disney gives them so much more exposure than NBC or CBS could ever give them. Since FOX is on the hook for NASCAR and MLB for the time being I doubt they have any interest in the NBA. The only other logical choice would be FOX who could have tie-ins with FSN for cable distribution.
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Old 06-05-2007, 06:54 PM   #8
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Going back to ratings, the Nielsons are a big bunch of bull**** to me especially when it comes to sports. Last time I checked they don't take into account college dorms and bars, so the ratings are skewed.

The internet's been around not nearly as long as TV and with stat counters a webpage can get an accurate visitor count. There has to be a better way to check people's TV viewing patterns in a non-pervasive way.
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Old 06-05-2007, 06:58 PM   #9
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They don't take into account DVRs either.
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Old 06-06-2007, 07:14 AM   #10
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Quote:
Originally Posted by da12ken
Last time I checked they don't take into account college dorms and bars, so the ratings are skewed.
Actually, earlier this year, they started to account for college dorm rooms.

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Old 06-06-2007, 12:27 PM   #11
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I love TNT, but can't stand 2 things about their NBA broadcasts:

1)Doug Collins bugs the crap out of me. He's one of those guys that doesn't just comment on the game, but tells the audience what the coach did wrong after the fact, as if he knows more. Anyone can second guess after things are said and done...reminds me of Joe Morgan on ESPN. If he knows so much, why isn't he coaching??

2) The excessive amount of commercials for lame looking shows like "House of Payne". I don't need to see the same stupid commercial 25 times a game to know whether or not I'm interested in watching. Same goes for the Closer and Saving Grace. "Ready to get your pimp walk on?"...yawn
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Old 06-06-2007, 01:05 PM   #12
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Marino13
1)Doug Collins bugs the crap out of me. He's one of those guys that doesn't just comment on the game, but tells the audience what the coach did wrong after the fact, as if he knows more. Anyone can second guess after things are said and done...reminds me of Joe Morgan on ESPN. If he knows so much, why isn't he coaching??
I understand your point. But I would much rather sit and listen to a knowledgeable basketball guy like Doug Collins critique and analyze the different aspects of a game, than to have to sit and listen to most of the color analysts out there who spend the majority of a game cracking jokes and appear to be more worried about how they are perceived rather than enlightening the viewing audience.

As a sports broadcaster myself, I admire Doug Collins' ability to allow the flow and the ongoing events of a basketball game to dictate his involvement and the comments he makes, as opposed to most of the current analysts who seem pre-scripted and somehow remain highly unlikeable.
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Old 06-06-2007, 01:45 PM   #13
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Doug Collins was a horrilbe coach and is even worse on tv. I want 99% of these guys to just get out of the way of the action. They're useless at best. The only reason I need volume is to hear how many timeouts each team has and the penalty situation.

Joe Morgan: idiot
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