As I have previously discussed in this blog, the business of sports broadcasting is incredibly cut-throat. This is especially true when it comes to the viewing/listening public. Let’s face it; the vast majority of people who watch a sporting event are incredibly passionate about one of the teams playing in that event. Thus, when listening to the game broadcasters, they hear only what they want to hear and consider any form of excitement the broadcasters show about the other team a form of on-air bias. The bittersportspills blog captures this issue quite well.
In this post, the writer is frustrated with what he heard during a game the Cowboys and Seahawks played last month (a game Dallas won 30-23). The Cowboys are one of the most polarizing, attention-grabbing teams in America, which naturally brings about some resentment amongst fans. In this particular case, the writer feels that Troy Aikman (Fox’s lead NFL analyst) went too far in his praising of the Cowboys, despite the fact that Dallas managed to win a game in which it was a massive underdog. Upon hearing this, the writer switched away from Fox immediately as he apparently “could only stand it for a minute.”
This is where it truly gets tough for broadcast teams. Oftentimes, it seems that no matter what you say, it will rub someone the wrong way and shape their opinions of your work. Joe Buck (Fox’s lead NFL and MLB voice) has often talked about this problem, as he has been the subject of much Internet hatred and vitriol over the years. As someone who constantly gets called out by fans for being “in favor” of one team over another, he is a very qualified voice to listen to on this subject. (Skip to the 9:38 mark of this video to see what I mean).
In the end, as broadcasters, we have to be prepared for criticism, whether warranted or unwarranted. It’s part of what comes with a big stage in which we are exposed to countless different groups of people. Like Buck says, the moment we can put our heads down and stop worrying about outside “noise” is the moment we can begin to take the next step in our growth as sports broadcasters.