I probably won’t have a lot of time to write this week, so I instead of writing a few different pieces, I will probably only have this one. That is unless something big comes up.
- I received my fair share of criticism for saying I liked the way TSN covers NCAA March Madness. Let me be clear, their coverage wasn’t perfect. Some major gaffes I noticed including TSN2 cutting coverage short for tape delayed curling last Saturday and Sunday even though there were still two games going on. Thank goodness, they fixed this on Thursday when TSN2 stayed on until the completion of their game. Also on Thursday TSN made the choice to show UConn-San Diego State (which was available on CBS) over a better matchup between Florida and BYU. This was quite simply the wrong decision, especially considering Florida-BYU was the better matchup. They did make the switch at halftime though. On Friday TSN actually made the right choices showing both TBS games. TSN2 also stayed on the air a full 35 minutes longer than they were supposed to until the NHL on TSN broadcast concluded. I think they might actually get how to broadcast the tournament now. I say give them another chance next year and the coverage will improve significantly. Unless you like Court Surfing that is, because they probably won’t bring that back.
- Another problem with TSN’s coverage was the studio show. I thought the analysts were good, but they all seemed to lack a little. The addition of Dan Shulman on Thursday night helped a lot. James Cybulski is quite simply a terrible host. This confuses me because he is an excellent reporter. While I like all of Sherman Hamilton, Leo Rautins and Jack Armstrong, they just don’t have enough time to follow college basketball because they work NBA games the rest of the year. For next year I’d like to see TSN bring in Rod Black to host, as well as a coach of a US college team as a guest analyst. Of course it would make sense if this person was Canadian. Another option would be to bring in an ESPN analyst. I’d like to see Hamilton, Rautins and Armstrong remain involved though. By the way, Dan Shulman will be back on TSN2’s coverage of the National Championship game next Monday night.
- I think that the CBS/Turner combination has worked out great. Charles Barkley and Kenny Smith add a lot to CBS’s studio show. It is also great to hear Marv Albert calling college basketball, especially for someone like me who doesn’t really watch the NBA. There were people in the US who complained about some games being on cable, but now every game is available nationally. That isn’t as big of an issue as half the games being online only, like happened in the first and second round during the CBS regional days.
- I was pleasantly surprised about how good TSN’s MLS coverage is. It didn’t surprise me at all that Luke Wileman and Jason deVos are one of the best broadcast teams in MLS, but the presentation of the games was better than I expected. Usually Canada is only better than the US at broadcasting hockey, but TSN’s MLS broadcast team is better than ESPN’s crew of the dreadfully boring Adrian Healey and John Harkes, who talks too much without really saying a lot.
- Formula One make its high definition debut this morning on TSN. I won’t go on an annual spiel about TSN’s coverage, but I think we all agree it has gone downhill since they began forcing blackouts on Speed’s coverage a few years back. There was a point where I loved TSN’s coverage, now I almost long for Speed. BBC’s new commentary team of Martin Brundle and David Clouthard didn’t really impress me. Brundle is far better than Jonathan Legard was, but I still prefer ITV’s James Allen. As I did last year, I listened to BBC Radio 5 Live’s commentary with David Croft this morning. Amazingly, it syncs up perfectly with the TSN video feed. I still think Croft should have been promoted to the BBC TV job this year.