Channel Seven have held the rights to the AFL for years and as a whole we have become accustomed to what they offer, but should we be accepting the quality of match broadcasts they are dishing out each week?
The past weekend’s broadcasts have shown us from almost every aspect the coverage isn’t up to standard, whether that be the commentary team, camera editing or the artificial crowd noises.
For starters the commentary has been average at best, Brian Taylor’s humour stopped being funny two seasons ago and his overall calling of the game doesn’t add much to the broadcast. Bruce McAvaney hasn’t been up to his best recently, Cameron Ling and Mathew Richardson are average but in general they don’t bring much to the table.
Overall when you compare the commentators to Fox Footy and various radio stations they don’t come close.
Take this clip for example, BT shouts “Danger” about 11 times followed by him shouting “Butler” five times. Some may enjoy it but in my opinion it’s annoying, excessive and not something you’d expect from someone who’s had the job for many years.
“Danger, danger, danger… Butler, Butler, BUTLER!
— 7AFL (@7AFL) July 2, 2020
Compare it to this clip which is a fairly similar goal called by Adam Papalia. The commentary isn’t repetitive, adds to the goal overall and most importantly it doesn’t make me want to reach for the mute button.
Channel Seven’s post-match interviews aren’t much better either as shown in the Richmond vs Melbourne game. In this clip boundary rider Abbey Holmes is talking to Dion Prestia, her second question in essence is asking Prestia what’s been missing in their previous games and why they haven’t been able to play the “Richmond brand”.
It’s a perfectly good question, however Holmes takes 21 seconds to ask it and attempts to steer Persia’s answer to involve the mental aspect of the unpredictable season. Eventually Holmes turns a broad question into what could’ve simply been a yes or no answer had Prestia chosen to respond in such a way.
Compare it to Fox Footy’s Sarah Jones’s post-match interview with Bomber Jacob Townsend, and you can clearly see the difference in quality. Jones’s questions are short and to the point allowing for the viewer to get more out of the interview and predominantly hear from the player.
Seven’s camera editing is also pretty average, take this clip for example, Dustin Martin takes a nice mark close to goal, 7 then decide to replay the mark as Martin is lining up for goal with a picture in picture format with the live image being shown in a small box in the corner. While the replay is showing, Martin plays on to kick the goal leading to a quick cut back to the live image meaning the replay of the mark wasn’t even shown.
With extended breaks between a goal being scored and the ball up this season, could 7 not wait until the play has finished to show us the replay? Or at least copy Fox Footy and have the replay in a small box and the live image as the main picture?
Channel Seven have also added the “fan zone” to its coverage, where to make up for the absence of a crowd they will cut occasionally after goals are kicked to fans on their couches decked out in merchandise celebrating a goal.
This doesn’t add much to the overall broadcast and if anything I’d rather see more replays of the goal. In reality if I wanted to see people watching TV I’d change the channel to Gogglebox or place a mirror next to my TV.
Channel Seven also needs to sort out their fake crowd noises, Fox Footy’s Tom Morris said it best when he tweeted: “Crowd noise needs to complement the game not dominate the game.”
Crowd noise needs to complement the game not dominate the game. #AFLDeesTigers
— Tom Morris (@tommorris32) July 5, 2020
Obviously we want the game to be as authentic as it can possibly be, and when used properly I am a big fan of the fake crowd noises. But it defeats the purpose when they crank up the volume way too high leading to the commentators having to shout.
It’s the equivalent of going to a restaurant that plays loud music, it’s annoying, unnecessary and ultimately everyone ends up yelling, making the whole experience less enjoyable.
Overall I’ve never been a fan of Chanel 7’s broadcast, I think the commentary team as a whole is pretty poor, the camera angles and editing are constantly chopping and changing unnecessarily and even something as simple as fake crowd noise they’ve managed to get wrong.
It’s time for 7 to up the ante and significantly improve the product they offer, especially considering we can’t attend the footy for the foreseeable future.