ESPN’s full-circle coverage is giving me a headache

I just channel-surfed to see how the home-state women are doing in the NCAA national championship game and landed on ESPN 2. It took me a moment to realize I was watching something, well, different. On ESPN 1 (I’m watching the HD versions of both channels), traditional coverage of the game is being aired, while on ESPN 2, as you can see from the photo below, there’s a display of five camera angles. In a sixth window — the middle screen on the bottom row — instant replays or stats are displayed.

Perhaps more interesting is the “alternative” announcing taking place on ESPN 2. Rather than play-by-play, someone who sounds remarkably like Peter Sagal is chit-chatting with a former basketball player (and who sounds unremarkably like every other former basketball player) about everything but the game. Okay, once in a while, they’ll mention something about the game. After three minutes, I know about the guitar painted on the court, the shoe companies roll-out of next season’s models and, well, they’ve convinced me: I’d rather be watching House. Maybe someone I follow on Twitter will post the game-end score. Outta here.

Later: Tuned back in for the end of the game. Pat Summit adds a seventh national championship to her legendary career. Amazing.

  • Hudge

    I’m surprised they haven’t sold one or more windows to advertisers – maybe next season.

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  • ESPN occasionally does this multi-pictured coverage of sporting events–I believe they call it Full Access. They did a few college games like this last year, and they featured different commentary. I believe the football games had Colin Cowherd from ESPN radio as the main studio guy and they brought in different analysts during the game as well as various other experts.

    That said, I find the coverage a bit too busy. And they don’t offer much of the play by play coverage of the game…I think at one point Tuesday they said–oh, the Lady Vols have scored…and then went back to whatever they were breaking down or rambling about. It was kind of like watching a DVD commentary from an older star who starts to reminscene about his or her career or some other aspect of the film (such as the doughnuts from craft services and how good they were) rather than what is happening on screen…

  • Rex

    Thanks, Michael. You are exactly right. It was like a DVD commentary of the game, not “coverage” of the game. Lots of during-game interviews with players and coaches and relative in the stands and random talk about disconnected topics. It’s definitely for viewers with short attention spans, no, make that “no” attention spans.