The F1 fans in UK are wondering (and perhaps are also excited) about what will the switch from ITV to BBC bring to them. We here in Asia can only hope that five more years of the same perhaps will not be the same . Because other than the fact that they at least show the F1 over here there is not much to like about ESPN Star Sports coverage of Formula One, at least not yet.
When it was announced early September that ESPN Star Sports renewed their Formula 1 broadcasting deal for another five years my feelings were mixed. On one hand I was happy that we will continue to have Formula 1 races live in this part of the world. On the other hand I freaked out – five more years of Steve Slater ?!? Can’t be happening …
Unfortunately Steve Slater‘s incompetent commentary is not the only problem with Star Sports (the channel that actually airs the Formula 1). But let me start with him.
Steve Slater may have a lot of Formula 1 knowledge and that I do not really doubt. But he is rather useless as a commentator. I appreciate that commenting live on TV is not as simple as it may sound to us in front of the screen. But he is supposed to be the pro bringing the F1 race to viewers in 24 countries and territories. Instead he is confusing everybody with mixed up names of drivers, he even mixes up the teams ! Often he gets so excited by totally insignificant event that he overlooks something important. Then few minutes later he discovers America and starts screaming about something that millions have seen and realized already. I wonder how do those guest commentators feel when they have to keep subtly correcting Mr. Slater’s observations. Why on Earth they still keep this guy I have no idea. It can’t be because he is good … Can’t be …
Let’s move from Mr.Slater to those annoying ads. I understand that the TV needs income. I really do. But why do they have to take commerical break even during the Q1 ? Why everytime the ads are on the volume level doubles ??? Why during the race itself the ads must be on every ten minutes and half of them are not even commercial messages but only self promo for ESPN Star Sports !
The race coverage begins an hour in advance. But all we get during that hour is very brief recap of qualifying, a quick flashback year back to the same race and the rest is collection of videos that are freely available of web days before the race … The original input from Star Sports is limited to features like for example Paula Malai Ali showing us places to eat around the track. The rest of course are ads and more ads.
The post race show starts with podium ceremony, fine. But we have to go through 20 minutes of ads interrupted talk talk talk before we get to see the post race press conference, taped … Why ? Why can’t we see it live as it happens ?
ESPN Star Sports recently revamped their website so I want to believe that some revamp of their lousy Formula 1 TV coverage may follow. There is no sign of any plans yet though, perhaps they still keep them secret.
I would like them to do at least this:
- Steve Slater out and some true experts in. Assemble a proper commentary team !
- Coverage of Friday and Saturday practice sessions. If there is no space on TV just follow the example of ITV last year and put the feed online.
- More original stuff on the pre race show. Star Sports obviously can get their people into the pitlane so let them do something useful there !
- Do something with those ads ! Do not interrupt qualifying sessions, do not interrupt the race only to tell us that week later there will be golf on at 8pm … And stop turning up that volume to painful levels !
- Give us optional HD broadcast, ads free, for a reasonable fee
- Think about showing us GP2 one day too …
How are you happy with your F1 broadcaster ? What do you like and what you don’t about them ?