False storylines in sports broadcasting

By Jason Wojciechowski on March 2, 2009 at 12:57 AM

It's far from an original complaint, but is there anything more annoying in contemporary sports broadcasting than turning the endeavor from one rooted in describing and reacting to the action on the court or field to one of making that action fit storylines chosen in production meetings before the game has even begun? Storylines rooted, furthermore, not in anything that might occur on the court, but in the personalities and histories of the players as people?

Put it this way: nobody ever tuned in to a Celtics-Pistons game because they were excited that Rip Hamilton and Ray Allen, who didn't quite overlap at UConn, were playing each other. Given this indisputable truth, why does ABC feel they need to discuss this fact three to five times throughout the broadcast in order to keep us watching?

Where it's most egregious is when Mike Tirico explains as we're going to the halftime break that "we'll talk more about that in the second half!" Really? Great! I don't care!