Wednesday marked the first US World Cup Qualifier for new soccer network beIN Sport. As I do with a variety of landmark broadcasts, I intended to provide a detailed blog. Unfortunately, there wasn’t much to report. The overall quality of the telecast was poor. The booth trio, Schoen, Hudson and Jones is experienced, but there was a surprising amount of cross talk and interruptions. Nevertheless, they are experienced pros and the commentary and play by play was easy to follow. Unfortunately, they were stashed in a booth in the United States and thus unable to provide the color required to convey the sense of atmosphere.
If the talent was average, the production was way below standard. The absence of crowd mics was noticeable, with the loud home crowd muted throughout. Replays were infrequent, almost never repeated more than once and often played over live action. The camera angles were limited and the overall presentation was lacking.
The same was true of the pre-game and halftime shows, hosted by Terri Leigh boasted a new age set but little more. Despite her experience at FSC, Leigh seemed strangely out of her depth even mispronouncing Schoen’s name and giving every appearance of never having met him. There was virtually no evidence of ad buys before, during or after the telecast.
Overall, it was an unimpressive performance for the fledgling network. Fortunately, beIN Sport has four more away qualifiers to get it right.
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