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ROOT Sports Will Change The Way We Watch Sports

I bet people who work for ROOT Sports love to say that. People who work for ROOT Sports probably say "ROOT Sports will change the way we watch sports" with happiness. I say it with less happiness, and way more skepticism. To the Forbesmobile! (thanks to Curto for the link)

The plan: to extend the ever-increasing interactive experience of the ballpark to the telecast, through more moving cameras, fan shots and social media integration that will allow viewers to contribute to the telecasts through twitter and other platforms.

There are upsides and downsides to the idea of having more moving cameras. There are upsides and downsides to the idea of having more fan shots. There is nothing but downside to the idea of encouraging viewer contribution, especially through Twitter and Facebook. It's impossible for me not to imagine Pop-Up Video or TRL with a scrolling shout-out bar on the bottom. I get that viewers like to feel involved, and the network wants to tap into that, and that's fine. It's fine if they just run like a bunch of polls or something. But the instant I see a Tweet or a status update anywhere on my screen during a Mariners game I'm switching to ABC Family and not looking back, because it's basically the same thing only ABC Family has hot chicks.

From later in the article:

[Important man] Shuken is hoping for more innovations along the way, including a camera following a manager to the mound during pitching changes to bring fans into the huddle.

Either the hypothetical camera wouldn't pick up sound, making it pointless, or the hypothetical camera would pick up sound, making it pointless, because the coaches and players would be aware that there's a camera picking up sound in the huddle and they wouldn't say anything interesting. Even though I know the hypothetical camera would be suspended from wires I like to pretend there'd be some ROOT Sports lackey holding enormous equipment going to and from the mound in a running crouch six times a game. Would he run out there for all mound visits, or only pitching changes? Would managers start lying to him about whether they're making a pitching change? So much fun to be had at the expense of that guy.

Anyway, I suppose I really shouldn't complain until I see with my own two eyes how this is going to evolve. To be sure, broadcasts leave room for improvement, and the standard broadcast in ten years will be different from the way it is now. I'm just skeptical that the key to the next level in any way involves more contributions from the people at home. If I've learned anything in my 25 years, it's that the more sports fans you involve, the shittier the result.