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View Full Version : American commentators affect the popularity of tennis?


BeHappy
06-03-2012, 05:20 PM
Sometimes I am forced to watch tennis on the internet, often with American comentators like Justin Gimelstob, Patrick McEnroe or Mary Carillo etc.

You have TERRIBLE commentators who have bad speaking voices, talk WAY too much and always right through the point, often aren't even talking about the match a lot of the time. I mean "THE DROPPER!"?

Back when you had Tony Trabert, one of the absolute greatest players of all time commentating it was great:
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=VoJpd4wJ-aA

But the commentators you have now approach it like it's radio, and they don't want "dead air". It's terrible, and I wonder if it's affecting the popularity of the sport in your country?

marc45
06-03-2012, 07:07 PM
Sometimes I am forced to watch tennis on the internet, often with American comentators like Justin Gimelstob, Patrick McEnroe or Mary Carillo etc.

You have TERRIBLE commentators who have bad speaking voices, talk WAY too much and always right through the point, often aren't even talking about the match a lot of the time. I mean "THE DROPPER!"?

Back when you had Tony Trabert, one of the absolute greatest players of all time commentating it was great:
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=VoJpd4wJ-aA

But the commentators you have now approach it like it's radio, and they don't want "dead air". It's terrible, and I wonder if it's affecting the popularity of the sport in your country?good question...i'd like to see a detailed study, seriously

The Bawss
06-03-2012, 07:14 PM
I think Courier is good. And Agassi was a great commentator once during the US Open.

I know Rusedski isn't american but when he is commentating Wimbledon, I die a little inside.

TheF1Bob
06-03-2012, 07:14 PM
Absolutley. Here in the UK, we don't get it alot compared to you guys but for the FO, they've brought Courier on ITV 4 for the commantary and boy... the biggest ******* and Nole hater outside TT lol. And he never shuts up too haha.

TheF1Bob
06-03-2012, 07:17 PM
I think Courier is good. And Agassi was a great commentator once during the US Open.

I know Rusedski isn't american but when he is commentating Wimbledon, I die a little inside.

Rusedski needs to go, the biggest hypocrite there is, he has no choice but to cheer Djokovic now as he's world No.1 but before.... don't get me started. :razz:

skip1969
06-03-2012, 07:43 PM
well, the commentators aren't helping, that's for sure. :)

but seriously, tennis is a niche sport in this country. and the casual tennis fan is like a miami heat fan: they only show up when times are good. i think the fact that the top ten isn't festooned with americans is the main reason there's not more buzz.

Moose Malloy
06-03-2012, 07:55 PM
Back when you had Tony Trabert, one of the absolute greatest players of all time commentating it was great:
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=VoJpd4wJ-aA

we also used to have Bud Collins, Dick Enberg, Barry McKay, & Donald Dell.

I remember readers writing many nasty letters to Tennis magazine in the 80s about how these guys talked too much/were ruining their enjoyment of tennis on tv.

What I've noticed about tennis commentary & writing is how fanboyesque they all sound now. John McEnroe said Raonic has 'one of the best serves of all time' yesterday. really? and after '08 Wimbledon, the SI cover said 'the best match ever.'

I never heard stuff like that in the 80s (and surely someone like Becker probably did have one of the best serves of all time in the mid 80s. maybe Bobo Zivojinovic as well. but no one ever said it, that I recall. and SI didn't call Borg-McEnroe the 'best match ever' in 1980)

why is every commentator so eager to say 'best ever' whatever about so many players today?

but seriously, tennis is a niche sport in this country. and the casual tennis fan is like a miami heat fan: they only show up when times are good. i think the fact that the top ten isn't festooned with americans is the main reason there's not more buzz.

ratings dropped like a log in the 90s compared to the late 80s. and americans dominated the 90s. weird that so many fans/commentators think this, its like we all forget how little sampras' great success in the 90s did as far as ratings etc here. I mean lendl-becker/lendl-wilander USO finals had way more ratings than any Sampras USO final(except the ones with Agassi, he's the only American of the last 20 years that gave any boost to tennis' popularity in the US) And his wimbledon finals generally drew crickets(except the one with you know who in it) as well.

heck SI had its famous cover "Is Tennis Dying?" right after the best run at the majors an American male had in the Open Era(Sampras winning 3 straight majors). Casual tennis fans & mainstream sports writers in the US circa 1994 could have cared less about Sampras, American or not. They seem to care a bit more about Fed, Nadal, Djokovic, their rivalries & domination of the majors has helped tennis get more press outside of the tennis world.

Andy Roddick could have won 10 majors & tennis probably would still be a niche sport here(his '03 USO final had pathetic ratings) as others have mentioned in other threads, tennis missed the boat in the early to mid 80s, that's when it started to noticeably decline in the US in terms of participation & ratings (& it hasn't stopped since) while golf - a sport that tennis was on equal footing with, perhaps even more popular than in the 70s, has left tennis in the dust. This was never really about 'Americans not doing well' there was something else lacking, perhaps in marketing or player accessibility(I've heard many journalists saying that tennis players are incredibly hard to get interviews with compared to golfers. and that was 20 years ago)

BevelDevil
06-04-2012, 02:29 PM
Pete Sampras was boring to the casual fan (and probably some serious fans), both in his playing style and his demeanor.

Michael Chang was/is an Asian male, which would have been great if the U.S. Asian population were >4%. If he were a hot Asian female, that might have netted more viewers.

Agassi probably turned off at least as many older people as he attracted young people with his image and style of play. He was also pretty inconsistent in his results, except when it came to getting pwned by Sampras. I also wonder how his hair loss affected his marketability....

Courier was a solid slice of Americana, but was overshadowed by Pete and Andre. Also, his slams were at AO and RG, the two least marketable in the U.S.

Todd Martin was Todd Martin.

Overall, a better situation for U.S. tennis would have been if Agassi and Sampras switched records, and if Agassi slightly toned down his early obnoxious image.


RE: Commentators/Announcers: In the era of grinder tennis, I'd prefer more commentating during the points as long as the comments weren't embarrassingly bad. Play-by-play like, "Inside out... backhand down the line!" in a Marv Albert-like voice would be a win for the game. I actually prefer sports streams with Arabic announcers (who I don't understand) to no announcer at all.

Play-by-play, done right, brings out emotions, which make even simple things seem more exciting. That's why there is play-by-play in other sports, even though they are usually not needed to know what is happening on the court/field. But play-by-play also educates viewers, which will make it more interesting for them in the future.

Also, more extensive discussion or explanation during the point makes sense when one guy is playing terrible and is far behind, or when the rallies are ridiculously long and monotonous.

But play-by-play commentary takes skill. You can't just get any random former pro to do it.


RE: Chatty and over-dramatic U.S. commentators: Aside from cultural norms, I think there's economic pressure to be more dramatic. Historically, I'd guess that the U.S. TV-programming market has been pretty competitive, so there's been a lot more to watch on TV other than tennis. Therefore, U.S. tennis has to take that extra step to draw and keep those viewers. Also, historically, the US has had a pretty low unemployment rate and high hours worked, meaning tennis is competing more with non-TV activities.

Or course, some of these factors has changed over time, but the habits have stuck.

1970CRBase
06-04-2012, 02:38 PM
The networks have turned tennis matches into nothing but talk shows for their hosts, it isn't about tennis primarily, it's about being a talk show. The US commentators are nothing but talk show hosts. But then, even they are not the worst. TennisVadim46 on youtube has a lot of matches uploaded which are completely unwatchable due to the absolute non stop talking.

Narcissist
06-04-2012, 02:44 PM
Absolutley. Here in the UK, we don't get it alot compared to you guys but for the FO, they've brought Courier on ITV 4 for the commantary and boy... the biggest ******* and Nole hater outside TT lol. And he never shuts up too haha.

Truth. He talks right through points sometimes even about other players/matches. Wish I still had eurosport.

sureshs
06-04-2012, 02:46 PM
I like commentary and learn from it and get entertained by it. I am able to see the match and hear the commentary at the same time. There is always the mute button if I don't like it. I like the commentary for the personal tidbits that are provided and the behind the scenes information. I don't go around irrationally hating this commentator or that but appreciate all of them. Their knowledge of tennis is based on actual high-level play unlike most posters here, and perhaps that is the key to the disconnect. I think it is a situation of "a little knowledge is a dangerous thing." Posters here know a little about tennis and play at a low level (4.5 and below), but they have no clue about how things are in the pro game, and get upset when they have to listen to qualified people who can actually play.

rainingaces
06-04-2012, 02:51 PM
I like commentary and learn from it and get entertained by it. I am able to see the match and hear the commentary at the same time. There is always the mute button if I don't like it. I like the commentary for the personal tidbits that are provided and the behind the scenes information. I don't go around irrationally hating this commentator or that but appreciate all of them. Their knowledge of tennis is based on actual high-level play unlike most posters here, and perhaps that is the key to the disconnect. I think it is a situation of "a little knowledge is a dangerous thing." Posters here know a little about tennis and play at a low level (4.5 and below), but they have no clue about how things are in the pro game, and get upset when they have to listen to qualified people who can actually play.

I think you missed the point of this thread.

1970CRBase
06-04-2012, 02:52 PM
Absolutley. Here in the UK, we don't get it alot compared to you guys but for the FO, they've brought Courier on ITV 4 for the commantary and boy... the biggest ******* and Nole hater outside TT lol. And he never shuts up too haha.

how do you know loud mouths like Courier, or for that matter fart faces like Gilbert et all, aren't already regular posters here? :)

DRII
06-04-2012, 02:53 PM
Some are horrible, like Gimlestob...

I think Davenport is pretty good! I love hearing commentary from a recent great; it provides for a very interesting and informative perspective.

1970CRBase
06-04-2012, 02:53 PM
I think you missed the point of this thread.

He's just trollin' as usual.

BrooklynNY
06-04-2012, 03:04 PM
Honestly they are.

The constant comparisons to other sports, and the constant label of everything as the 'best ever' is just disgusting.

I agree tennis has been reduced to a talk show. ESPN would rather show a player being interviewed than a tennis match.

P-mac, BG, Darren Cahill, Pam Shriver are all terrible, although I kind of have a softspot for BG, when he isn't comparing tennis to other sports.

I actually think Mary Carillo is one of the better commentators, funny everyone hates her, she actually talks about the tennis.


I really hate how tennis is almost like trying to hit a home run in baseball, combined with hitting a 3 pointer in basketball, and kicking a field goal in football, while crossing the finish line as the triple crown winner.

I think tennis media is general is ruining tennis. Especially BS articles like this http://t.co/DDG2NP2W that try to convince people that Federer invented the squash shot, or that retrieving balls is "creative defense".

I'm convinced tennis industry is a incestuous business, hence the ESPN / May Jo Fernandez / IMG / Federer conflict of interest that happened before Federer announced his departure from that situation last week

rainingaces
06-04-2012, 03:13 PM
Egomaniacs dont make for good commentators, unfortunatly America seems pretty full of them. There are good American commentators for sure just not enough. I think the more humble American pros of the past would make good comms people, im thinking of guys like chang and martin.

BevelDevil
06-04-2012, 03:14 PM
Keep in mind that to expand their business, the TV producers have to appeal to the casual viewer, not the die-hard tennis fans (who will watch even if they hate the commentators).

If we want tennis to grow, some amount of low-brow commentary may be necessary.

cluckcluck
06-04-2012, 03:23 PM
We all know that Gimelstob is by far the WORST commentator on air these days. He doesn't know jack.

Gizo
06-04-2012, 03:23 PM
Overall, a better situation for U.S. tennis would have been if Agassi and Sampras switched records,




Agreed. Sure Agassi would have had no career grand slam or dramatic 'hero to zero to hero again' decline and resurgence story, but he would have been winning a lot more Wimbledon and US Open titles, which of the course to many casual fans in the US are the only two tournaments that matter.

I also agree that Sampras was a relative nobody in the US in heyday for guy who achieved as much as he did. That's why I've found it hilarious when I've read conspiracy theories over the years about how the US open organisers favoured him.

DRII
06-04-2012, 03:30 PM
Honestly they are.

The constant comparisons to other sports, and the constant label of everything as the 'best ever' is just disgusting.

I agree tennis has been reduced to a talk show. ESPN would rather show a player being interviewed than a tennis match.

P-mac, BG, Darren Cahill, Pam Shriver are all terrible, although I kind of have a softspot for BG, when he isn't comparing tennis to other sports.

I actually think Mary Carillo is one of the better commentators, funny everyone hates her, she actually talks about the tennis.


I really hate how tennis is almost like trying to hit a home run in baseball, combined with hitting a 3 pointer in basketball, and kicking a field goal in football, while crossing the finish line as the triple crown winner.

I think tennis media is general is ruining tennis. Especially BS articles like this http://t.co/DDG2NP2W that try to convince people that Federer invented the squash shot, or that retrieving balls is "creative defense".

I'm convinced tennis industry is a incestuous business, hence the ESPN / May Jo Fernandez / IMG / Federer conflict of interest that happened before Federer announced his departure from that situation last week


I like Carillo too, but mostly for her apt, literary analogies. She's clearly a very learned person, but she mixes her knowledge with a rye New Yorker's wit that makes her tennis commentary seem non patronizing.

kiki
06-04-2012, 03:31 PM
american commentators like Mc Enroe are very debatable.

sureshs
06-04-2012, 03:39 PM
Honestly they are.

The constant comparisons to other sports, and the constant label of everything as the 'best ever' is just disgusting.

I agree tennis has been reduced to a talk show. ESPN would rather show a player being interviewed than a tennis match.

P-mac, BG, Darren Cahill, Pam Shriver are all terrible, although I kind of have a softspot for BG, when he isn't comparing tennis to other sports.

I actually think Mary Carillo is one of the better commentators, funny everyone hates her, she actually talks about the tennis.


I really hate how tennis is almost like trying to hit a home run in baseball, combined with hitting a 3 pointer in basketball, and kicking a field goal in football, while crossing the finish line as the triple crown winner.

I think tennis media is general is ruining tennis. Especially BS articles like this http://t.co/DDG2NP2W that try to convince people that Federer invented the squash shot, or that retrieving balls is "creative defense".

I'm convinced tennis industry is a incestuous business, hence the ESPN / May Jo Fernandez / IMG / Federer conflict of interest that happened before Federer announced his departure from that situation last week

You like BG and Carillo, another poster likes Davenport. I like Davenport and Martina. Between us, we like many commentators, just like life in general. There is nothing to hate and rant about.

And the comparison to other sports is a nod to the casual viewer, to make him feel welcome.

It is a business, and it cannot cater to geeks who are stuck in the Fed camp or the Nadal camp or argue about some useless tennis stuff on a forum the whole day.

Vanhool
06-04-2012, 03:57 PM
I used to like Mary Carillo's goofball 1am Olympic coverage, but I've become quite annoyed with her while watching tennis. I rememeber her working my nerves in the past, but I think my peak annoyance came in Miami. Wozniaki was working on her upset of Serena and Carillo was completely disengaged and pulling the other commentators off on tangents. I mean here's Woz getting ready to break Serena and Mary is rambling about what will Roddick do in Wimbledon, which was months away. It wasn't like it was th middle of a 61 62 match of a top 10 vs 98...it was fairly high drama. Does she even like women's tennis? If not, fine, but then don't let her comment on it! Commentators should be adding to the excitement, not making you feel stupid for wanting to watch the match. What a gasbag! Then, while she was blabbing, Serena pulled a piece of tape off her stomach right on camera. Mary finally shuts up and notices the piece of tape and authoritatively declares that she probably took it off her anke. Ugh. Bad enough to have to deal with her on the big networks but it totally sucks that she's on tennis channel too!

not_federer
06-05-2012, 09:36 PM
Check out this video, highlights from Fed v Soderling 2009:

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=NQN9UngptDw

It's a perfect example of how sucky american commentators are. They are RELENTLESS. Seriously, they do not shut up the entire time, talking during points, over points, their stupid slam tracker movement vision o meter 9000 BS or whatever.

I'm so glad I found online streams that show video only with no commentary. Alternatively, I can find a foreign stream in a language I don't understand.

sandiegoman
06-06-2012, 12:08 AM
You can mute it if you don't like the commentary. I think it is actually good and entertaining.

TennisLovaLova
06-06-2012, 12:35 AM
well well well
you're unhappy with the US commentators?!!!
You should listen to the french then, the most chauvinist and hateful tv commentators of all time...

ashitaka2010
06-06-2012, 01:03 AM
well well well
you're unhappy with the US commentators?!!!
You should listen to the french then, the most chauvinist and hateful tv commentators of all time...

You may have some issues with French in general, that's your right, but please don't talk BS. Hateful? where? When? show some proof. Chauvinist, yes absolutely, but no more than others.

And they actually shut up during points most of the time because viewers complain a lot when they talk too much.

TennisLovaLova
06-06-2012, 02:03 AM
You may have some issues with French in general, that's your right, but please don't talk BS. Hateful? where? When? show some proof. Chauvinist, yes absolutely, but no more than others.

And they actually shut up during points most of the time because viewers complain a lot when they talk too much.


I dont have any issues with anyone
This is very specific actually, we're talking about commentators
And IMO the french are the worst.

You want a proof? Last week dimitrov vs gasquet, the commentators were almost saying it was a good thing dimitrov had cramps and after the match finished they even said (quel culot!!!!) that it was a great win for gasquet
No respect for the french opponents
even in other sports
If you watch soccer, rugby or handball you'd understand it
they're like "cocorico", we are the best and the rest of the world is crap

ashitaka2010
06-06-2012, 05:05 AM
^^
You're kidding right, that's not the definition of hateful.
It's very chauvinist, a point I agreed with you.
I'll even give you the "cocorico" thing, seeing that you like clichés, but I highly doubt any sane commentator of any sport has ever said or implied "we are the best and the rest of the world is crap". That's just asinine.

TennisLovaLova
06-06-2012, 07:52 AM
http://files.sharenator.com/okay_meme_RE_ATTENTION_SHARE_NATION-s300x272-170761-580.jpg

rufus_smith
06-06-2012, 08:17 AM
These pros are great physical atheletes confined to a rectangle who are trying to knock each other out. Play by play announcing should be done more like an exciting boxing match. Instead, its done like watching quiet relaxed golf. It is absurd.

NRod2
06-06-2012, 09:27 AM
I believe that ESPN has told their announce teams to call the sport like their other commentators call NBA and NFL games. A lot of explaining to keep the casual fan informed, and a little too much over-analysis. Tennis fans are so much more knowledgeable on the whole than any other sport, we don't need comments about how big "this second serve on break point is". We get it.

But, I also appreciate that ESPN gives tennis the coverage it does. Only a few years ago, we had tape delays and sometimes, we would miss much early round tennis, so whatever. I'll take any tennis I can get.

snowpuppy
06-06-2012, 09:36 AM
The way they commentated is just align with the sport culture of the caster. American commentating is styled just like as if they were doing it for football or baseball but content wise tennis. So you are going to get a lot of side chatters and home team mentality on their favorite players.

Unfortunately that just feel wrong with tennis' heritage or pedigree since after all, it was a sport for the upper class. So british commentary or other european who styles after that would know when to shut up when to talk, etc. feels more right.

If you don't like one just look for another coverage. There are so much and in many languages now you should have your pick of choice. Personally I find middle eastern (?) commentary awesome (even though I don't understand a word.) They are really into it and when there is a awesome winner they scream like a soccer goal was just scored.

yemenmocha
06-06-2012, 11:31 AM
Dick Enberg is the worst. I wish he would expire sooner than later.

Mustard
06-06-2012, 12:54 PM
Jim Courier is on ITV in the UK during this French Open tournament. I think he's a superb commentator. I hope to see more of him on UK broadcasts.

Mainad
06-06-2012, 12:58 PM
Yes, I like Courier too. He doesn't get too excitable like McEnroe,Becker and Rusedski. He stays calm and focussed, more or less like he was on the tennis court.

BeHappy
06-06-2012, 01:47 PM
Jim Courier is on ITV in the UK during this French Open tournament. I think he's a superb commentator. I hope to see more of him on UK broadcasts.

He talks through the point.

Wasn't talking about Courier though, I'm talking about the commentators who shout "HELLO!?!?! HELLO!?!?! THE DROPPER!!!!!!!!!"

If I was american I just couldn't sit through that.

Mustard
06-06-2012, 01:55 PM
He talks through the point.

Wasn't talking about Courier though, I'm talking about the commentators who shout "HELLO!?!?! HELLO!?!?! THE DROPPER!!!!!!!!!"

If I was american I just couldn't sit through that.

Isn't it Patrick McEnroe who says that?

Mustard
06-06-2012, 01:57 PM
The way they commentated is just align with the sport culture of the caster. American commentating is styled just like as if they were doing it for football or baseball but content wise tennis. So you are going to get a lot of side chatters and home team mentality on their favorite players.

Unfortunately that just feel wrong with tennis' heritage or pedigree since after all, it was a sport for the upper class. So british commentary or other european who styles after that would know when to shut up when to talk, etc. feels more right.

If you don't like one just look for another coverage. There are so much and in many languages now you should have your pick of choice. Personally I find middle eastern (?) commentary awesome (even though I don't understand a word.) They are really into it and when there is a awesome winner they scream like a soccer goal was just scored.

In Britain, on the BBC in the old days, they would talk in depth during the changeovers. American broadcasts would have commercials during changeovers, so the talking comes in during points at times. That's why there's a different commentating culture.

Swissv2
06-06-2012, 02:08 PM
You can mute it if you don't like the commentary. I think it is actually good and entertaining.

Hate it when I can't hear anything. That's why I watch ESPN360 - barely and commentary, mostly just pure tennis.

Pet
06-06-2012, 02:09 PM
LOL

Thats is happening here in Spain too.

The coments are soo stupid.

audioaffliction
06-06-2012, 02:48 PM
In Britain, on the BBC in the old days, they would talk in depth during the changeovers. American broadcasts would have commercials during changeovers, so the talking comes in during points at times. That's why there's a different commentating culture.

That's because the BBC is a government/viewer funded network, thus no commercial breaks. Not saying it's better or worse, just pointing out that this is an apples to oranges comparison.

What I think we're seeing today is a trend away from objective commentary, toward a more subjective style of coverage. In the old days, you would never get the sense that a commentator favored one payer over another. Some admiration, yes, but never anything that you could point to as a personal bias. Over the years, there's been a relaxation in the approach as commentators have moved out of the realm of broadcast journalists and into the domain of ex-players. Personally, I think the idea of "objective" reporting is somewhat flawed anyway. If there's going to be bias, I'd rather know what the commentator's bias is up front.

My personal bias, by the way, is in favor of American commentators (and no I'm not American.) I can't stand stodgy BBC-style commentary. Certain sports, to me, just go with certain styles of commentary. I can't stand hearing a British commentator say "off forehand" instead of "inside out forehand." Just as I loathe American commentators for soccer, cringing whenever they use "serve" (instead of "cross") and "PK" instead of "penalty."

You know what would be great? If we could CHOOSE a commentary team to listen to, or none at all. And no, the MUTE button is not a solution, because I still want to hear the ball being struck, the players' exertions with every point, and the crowd's reaction. Now that would be something.