The World Cup

South Africa 2010

This article has been replicated from Oz TV Reviews

Service has been severely interrupted by the World Cup. But here’s what has been happening. Well first and foremost we must praise SBS for their coverage of the event. I am so glad it did not go to any other network. Every game has been covered live, even using both SBS One and SBS Two when games were played at the same time. Can you see any other network doing that?

Australian commentary was only provided for the Socceroos games and commentators from the UK have been used for all other games. We know this is obviously done for cost reasons, but I think that it is a good thing.  Then again I may be biased. But the UK has numerous very experienced match commentators, with a wide knowledge of football from all over the world and especially in Europe. Appropriate foreign language commentary has been provided for each game on SBS radio. So I have no complaints on the commentary front.

The games have been shown uninterrupted by adverts, except at half time and you could not ask for more than that. This adds immensely to the enjoyment of the game, unlike channels Seven, Nine and Ten who will put an ad break in at every given opportunity and usually the same ad repeated over and over again, which becomes mind numbingly painful.

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I am not so impressed with the panel discussions and game analysis by SBS’s “experts”. I think they could learn a lot from the UK’s coverage here.

I know that UK television has more access to world renowned players and coaches, but a bit more levity would not go amiss. The game is meant to be fun, so there should be more of that in the panel’s comments too.

For that reason I must also praise “Santo, Sam and Ed’s Cup Fever”. The jokes are often weak and sometimes fail all together, but the show is all about celebrating the World Cup for the major international event that it is. Picking out the good and funny bits and ridiculing the silly or negative stuff, like the French training boycott.

I like the way they all put their support behind other teams, when their own have been knocked out. This is what I think true football fans do. I started out with my support fully behind England and Australia, as I was born in one country and live in the other. When they were both eliminated I threw my hopes behind the Netherlands and Spain and guess what? Both in the final. I think this proves that my head is a better judge than my heart.

Special mention on the analysis team must go to Craig Johnston, Francis Awaritefe, Craig Foster, when he’s not being negative and Ned Zelic most improved newcomer.

There is a talk of  some sports events being lost to pay TV from free to air and the commercial stations, especially 10, are running ads about keeping sport on free to air. Well if it is run like SBS have run the World Cup coverage then I am all for it. But the major commercial stations Seven, Nine and Ten fall well behind.

Seven have the contract for covering international Rugby Union. In my opinion this should be taken away. In Perth the Wallabies games are not shown until after midnight, I’ve heard of delayed telecast, but that is ridiculous. It’s only of any use to the true die hard fans and does nothing to promote the game in this bastion of AFL. The Australian Rugby Union should look into this.

The coverage is badly broken up by ads at inopportune moments and far too many of them. Once again often the same ad repeated multiple times, which makes you want to turn the TV off. And don’t get me started on the commentary team. The main commentator is Gordon Brae who makes numerous inane comments throughout the game and produces meaningless facts and figures in an effort to imitate The Voice of Rugby,  Bill McLaren.

You need to remember Gordon, when Bill was commentating the game was amateur and the player’s junior clubs and schools were much more relevant. The game is professional now and these boys are snapped up at an early age and developed by the super powers of Rugby.

Gordon Brae is backed up by Tim Horan and Dan Crowley, now these boys know their way around a rugby field and it wasn’t too long ago that they were still running around one. But they are not so hot behind the mike. This is particularly noticeable when Australia aren’t going so well.

There was a game recently where many mistakes were being made, but the commentary from these three guys made you feel like switching off. They need to learn that they are there to promote the game and add to the presentation, whinging and moaning does not do this.

They could learn a lot from the Cricket commentators here. Even I will admit that Cricket can be a bit dull at times, but the cricket commentators always pick up something good, or a relevant point to concentrate on. That is your roll model Seven team.

OK complaining over back to the World Cup. Roll on the final and may the best team win. I like them both, so I am going to sit on the fence and enjoy the spectacle. I hope you do too.

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By Max Power
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One Comment
  1. Well the World Cup final was a big disappointment. I started out pretty neutral with a slight preference for the Dutch at the kick off, but when they fouled at every given opportunity I switched sides after a while. I can’t believe some of the Dutch were blaming the ref. for losing. The only thing he did wrong was not send a few of them off earlier. So all over for another 4 years. I wonder who will be playing for England then, or if they will qualify. I don’t think Australia will, unless they find a few new talented kids.

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