Which innovations do you like?

    Watching the baseball game the other night, they had this slick graphic “on the field” when the runner at first took his lead. It showed how many feet he was leading off the bag. Another new element with sports TV coverage.

Ok, I like and rely on the yellow first down line with the NFL coverage. I like the graphics in baseball where you can see if the pitch was a ball or strike. I get a little put off by the “red zone” graphic during NFL games. Like you, some things I like..even rely on…and some I don’t.

I want to hear from you. Are you old school? Do you want less of this? What bothers you? Or are you embracing all these bells and whistles? Tell me the ones you like and what you would like to see next.



29 Responses

  1. I’ve become so reliant on the yellow first-down line that I’m not sure how the actual players know how far they have to go on the field without it. I find the K-zone graphic for pitches interesting, though I’m a bit more troubled by graphics like that where they start to obscure the fact that the call is supposed to rely on the idiosyncratic strike zone of the individual umpire rather than on some concrete “objective” strike zone.

    In the end, though, I find the overuse of graphics in other parts of broadcasts far more annoying than anything I’ve seen put on a field so far. For example, Fox’s use of “TransFormers” to cut to replays during the ALCS totally mystifies me as an graphics choice, since all it does is distract me from the baseball and make me quite annoyed with the movie.

  2. If they could get rid of the announcers all together that would be great! It’s funny how when I go watch my team – the 2007/08 AFC dark horse Pittsburgh Steelers – play I don’t need three guys to sit next to me and ramble in my ear for three straight hours for me to understand what’s going on in the game.


  3. Like you said, some new technologies/graphics are great, and others are intrusive.

    The first-down line was a great development for football. Obviously, the hockey puck glowing thing was a failure.

  4. Innovations that don’t get in the way of the enjoyment of the game is the key. Most new “junk” just clutters the screen. It has become so annoying that I just turn to radio sometimes or simply will read the score next day. It’s getting out of control.

    And when you want a score say between commercial breaks or between quarters, they won’t display it. You have to hear these so called experts go on and on but they won’t display the score. And when the game is back on well they can’t help themselves with graphics bites and sound bites.

  5. Dan,
    Like you, rely on the yellow first down line when watching football, but most of the newer graphics just bother me. The lead-off graphic I think is a bit useless. What does it really matter how far off the bag the runner is if he never runs? And if you HAVE to have that graphic, why 9 feet? What’s so magic about 9? It’s 10 a more round number? If it must stay around, then I think just displaying a small line that starts at the runner’s feet and goes to the bag with a number on the line displaying how many feet he’s off the bag would suffice. But don’t we also need to think globally on this? Should meters be displayed as well? Where does it all stop?

  6. 5’9″ 156 lbs.

    I listened on the internet all morning for to the show for the big announcement and it never came!!! I just listened to a whole bunch of commercials and then got to listen to you in mid-sentence. Please tell us who listened on the internet what the announcement was!!!

    As for the graphics, the first down marker in the NFL, the little arrow pointing to who has the ball in the ticker at the bottom of the screen with the scores on it and the clock ticking down. Whenever a team calls a timeout or should call for a challenge and a graphic pops out from the score showing each teams timeouts and challenges left. In baseball seeing how many runners are on base and what base they are on is good as well. My only gripe is that with K-zone, when a pitch is obviously a strike or outside, whichever the case may be, they only selectively go to it because some silly announcer is in the midst of some meaningless statement and they won’t go to what we really want to see. This strike or non-strike call always ends up being the call/non-call of the game that you miss if you just watch Sportscenter or just listen to the announcers! (Thank goodness for the DVR!!!)

    Give us the announcement Dan!

    Also, while I’m here, can we get another Phil the show killer type figure, he added some comic relief and he could have told us the story about getting the fella from Entourage on the phone and given you some time to collect some thoughts.

    Once again, Give us the announcement!

  7. 6’3″ 295lbs
    I completely agree with you, Dan.
    some of the less intrusive things, like the yellow 1st down line, even the blue line of scrimage, are ok and even helpful. Heck, even the big “2nd and 7” arrow is ok, just because I can catch up quickly after running to the fridge. I could do without the strike zone, just because the umps’ zones are inherently subjective, and the graphic just gets people riled up.
    I don’t watch hockey (who does?), so they can glow all they want…
    what’s next, an arrow showing the stride length of the running horses in the Kentucky Derby? A weird half-circle behind Tiger Woods showing the consistency of his backswing? c’mon… keep it small, informative, useful, and *UN*obtrusive…
    and I agree with Bubba, get a ShowKiller, just for some chuckles…

  8. Gary In Springfield, MO 6’1″ 250 (beefy)

    The new graphics are generally informative and acceptable. It’s not only football and baseball, horse racing has gone to a thing called “Trakus” where you can see the numbers float around the track on the Infield Big Screen like dancing chickletts.

    Technology is great!

  9. Dan,

    I really wish that it wasn’t necessary to show a homerun ten times in a row. I think instant replay is getting overused. The big difference I’ve noticed between watching a current game and a classic game is the announcers. It seems today that at no time is anyone actually silent someone is always talking. I watched a Yankees game from twenty years ago it was much easier to listen to.

    We over analyize these days.

  10. bring back Dibbs!

    and what the heck was the big news anyway? I had to go straight into a meeting after I got out of the car and couldn’t listen.

  11. I like the yellow first down line. The score and timer information beyond that I really don’t think of anything I can’t live without.

    Hate the managers/coaches sound bites at halftime or between innings. Why not just play 30 seconds of “mr Obvoius”?

    Wait one, I DO like the in car camera in NASCAR. All the excitement of a train wreck while perched in the Barka Lounger!

  12. I too like the yellow first down line.
    I would also like to see just how fast QBs are throwing their passes or maybe how fast each wide receiver or running back is running.

  13. That new leadoff graphic is fairly useless in my opinion. As milehighmike already commented, 9 feet seems to be a very arbitrary number to pick, and the huge arrows pointing in either direction are completely unnecessary. Maybe a marker to show how far the runner led off the pitch before would be more helpful.

    As for newer innovations and graphics that I like, the various iterations of the K-Zone have to be up there, along with the 1st down yellow line. But we can all agree on the advantage and usefulness of them. I actually thought catcher-cam was pretty cool, but it seems that has been given up on.

  14. I, like everyone else has said, like the first down line and the k-zone (hopefully it is accurate!). The leadoff graphic is useless to me, you can usually see how far someone is off the bag. I do like the overhead cameras, but it would really be tragic if one hit somebody on the field.

    Not to derail the topic, but I had meetings and missed the announcement. It seems like no on heard it??? If you did catch Dan’s announcement, share it on the blog.

  15. the first down line is great

    the 9 feet graphic is stupid

    i also missed the announcement, dope!

  16. I generally like the graphics that provide useful information. The Umpire Cam doesn’t really do it for me. But there is something to be said for keeping the broadcast old school.

  17. Thanks JH – looks like we can find Dan on SI.com very soon.

    There is a second blog entry that has the press release from Dan.

  18. innovations I would like to see would be the full field aerial veiw of a football play or hockey rush, let us see all 22 {or 12 for hockey}players moving at once and their relationship to the full play. The other one would be the ability to turn off the announcers but leave the crowd noise and officials on

    my cat really liked the hockey puck trail thing


  19. The guy leaves ESPN now look at him. What’s up with the spread at the top of page, are you auditioning for GQ Magazine? Now we’re gonna see the “darkside” of DP. LOL!! Trying to attract the laaadiees!!!

    As far as the graphics, sometimes the networks can be too innovative. I do like the lead off graphic though, I think it is pretty cool. Organizations have a way of convincing us that we need something when it fact, we really don’t. For example, Dodge and it’s “Hemi”. A very clever marketing tool. Why you ask? Before the Dodge ad, how many people even knew what a Hemi was? Dodge made us think that if you were a man’s man, you better own a hemi!!!

  20. As everyone else, I like most of the graphics. I do wish that ESPN or whoever would keep track of umpires relative strike zones. Shw an overlay or the “official” strike zone compared to how a specific umpire has been calling games throughout the season Also, it sounds lame and I don’t know who handles them, but the grahics for badminton on one of the international ESPN stations in Japan are really nice. Concise, graphically interesting and unobtrusive. All while using the latest technology.

  21. I really dig how video games have impacted a lot of these graphics. most of the baseball graphics stem from games.

    I believe that video games are the future for a lot of things. Live TV and home replay will soon start to hint at camera angle changes from the homespace. another video game nod. and even movies are investing in video game worlds, Pixar thinks acting out movies video game style are the way of the future, via machinema.

    bottom line, I dig most of these graphics. its inevitable with the growth and evolution of these graphic technologies that some will be annoying, but the majority are good for the ever maturing sports fan. fans are too savvy, too tech driven these days to just be comfortable with the status quo. the envelope must be pushed, especially since many of these graphics have now become the new status quo.

    great post dan. keep em coming.

  22. Hello Dan,

    The first down line thing was genius.

    Baseball is number one for me and I like the ball/strike thing and arc of the pitch graphic. It really gives you a good shot of stuff you don’t see because the ball is going so fast some times.

    Speaking of balls and strikes…did anyone ever see this pitch? I am pretty sure it was Phil Niekro to Dwight Evans…the nuckler was all over then dive bombed in for a perfect strike…it was the most amazing sight.

    If anyone saw that or has seen a video of that please let me know.

    Another great graphic is the “Where they hit ’em” one. RF, CF and LF. The players know this …so bringing it to us is a no brainer…I like it.

    Take care Dan and All,


  23. i love technology in sports. i want more not less, but that’s not to say there aren’t bad graphics. (MNF anyone?)

    The lead-off indicator is pretty but useless. tell me where the guy is when he typically steals or when most stolen bases occur. i’d rather see more of the “split screen” that contains the view of first base / runner and the pitcher / catcher view.

    Speaking of technology is sports. What is up with golf?! they play the same 18 holes for 4 consectutive days and they can’t mix in a few graphics showing where the field has made putts or where particular golfers have driven on a hole over 3 or 4 days? It’s the slowest game around. The PGA needs to get to work.

  24. I love the first down line and the red field goal range line.
    Except when they use it for Jason Elam. Man, it is rediculous to show Denver in field goal range on the 46 yard line.

    I watched a college game a couple of weeks ago that was not on a major station that didn’t have the first down line and I felt lost.

  25. Totally agree w/the yellow line…who DOESN’T love that?

    One of my more recent favorites isn’t that huge from a technical perspective, but I’ve always loved that PTI had the rundown listed on the right side of the screen and am thrilled that SportsCenter has adopted that concept as well.

    Are you and Reilly going to fight over the back page?

  26. The first down and scrimmage lines are great. The “light up” the puck graphic was IDIOTIC!!!! Oh, and the draft graphic in NASCAR is as STUPID as Rusty “I love myself so much” Wallace. Drop them both….

  27. Graphical innovations in Sports

    Dan Patrick wants to know the graphic innovations in sports that we like or dislike. Actually, I like them all and like to see the new places they come up with to advertise on. Of course some of them bug

  28. Hate the overdone animations on stats screens, player introductions, etc., but digging the first down marker and the strike zone indicator on replays.

    I think we should get more telestrator, in an old-school way. Watching Madden scribble all over the TV screen is one of the great joys of my coming up as a sports fan.

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