Announcers Face Challenge Of Bringing The Missing Excitement To TV Viewers
I fell asleep during the 2020 Belmont Stakes.
Dozed off on the couch just as the horses were entering the gate.
I was prepared to watch it, even kind of excited about watching it. But with no crowd in attendance making noise in anticipation of the start or roaring loudly as the horses headed for the finish line, well, my head went back, my eyes shut and the next thing I knew, some Sunday afternoon infomercial was on the channel.
So I switched to golf. The RBC Heritage from Hilton Head Island was on CBS. I covered that tournament a few years ago when I was a sportswriter for the Savannah News-Press. If nothing else, I was anxious to see the golf course and of course the famous lighthouse and Harbor Town. Memories of moments I had at the Quarterdeck bar were filling my head.
But again, I could not keep my eyes open. The thing about watching golf now is that there is no applause after a player putts out on a hole. It’s really odd.
And this is the problem with sports without fans. It’s just not the same as the “real” thing.
I can’t imagine what it will be like when the NBA starts in July with no crowd noise. Or football. Especially college football. A bit part of watching college football games is hearing the fans. They are especially loud at SEC and Big 10 games, adding a level of anticipation to the broadcast that often raises the excitement above the actual importance of the game.
If there’s football without fans this fall – especially college football – then every game will feel like Stanford-Utah.
In this case, the announcers will become even more important, for it is them that will have to transfer the energy from the field to the people watching on TV. And now aren’t you really glad Booger McFarland is no longer on Monday Night Football!? Up to this point in time, the announcers for the sports I have watched have done an excellent job with this difficult task,
So yeah, sports with no fans is not as good as sport with fans for TV viewers. But it is certainly better than no sports at all.