TNT’s Analyst-Only Experiment

BY ANTHONY ALFORD

For TNT’s broadcast of the NBA game between the Oklahoma City Thunder and the Golden State Warriors, TNT used three analysts and no play-by-play announcer. This marked the first time in NBA history a broadcast team did not include a play-by-play announcer. Steve Kerr, Reggie Miller, and Chris Webber were on the call.

It could have been a train-wreck, but proved to be an effective line-up.

There were quite a few positives about this broadcast. First, more people watched an otherwise meaningless regular season game and TNT became “trending” topic on Twitter. Fans showed interest in this style of broadcasting because nobody has ever done it. The broadcasting team also had great chemistry from having worked together on NBA TV’s “Open Court.” Despite the game becoming a blowout in the second half, the broadcast team kept it conversational, like three friends at a bar talking about the game.

However, there were some major drawbacks. Because there was no traditional play-by-play person, there was hardly any mention of stats or relevant context to how the game was progressing.

This is not the first time a network tried a non-traditional sportscast. In December 1980, NBC aired an NFL telecast with no announcers. While this was different and interesting, it was insulting to the sports broadcasting profession because, as Dick Enberg said, “We’re paid to talk.” In my opinion, NBC’s experiment was meant to kill an entire profession unlike the TNT experiment.I believe it is OK to do something different for telecasts as long as the experiments are not at the expense of the profession. TNT could do this again in the future, but America will be fine with Marv Albert and Kevin Harlan calling NBA games.

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About The Richard A. Maxwell Sport Media Project

The Richard A. Maxwell Sport Media Project is a hub for teaching, research, and service related to sport media. The Project benefits students and faculty at Bowling Green State University, and offers outreach and media consulting to area and regional groups that work with student-athletes. Through collaborative efforts of the Sport Management program and the School of Media and Communication, BGSU students have the opportunity to learn such skills as sports writing, reporting, broadcasting, announcing, public relations, media relations, communication management and production. Faculty and other scholars have access to resources about the commercial and sociological aspects of sport.

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