TMG Newsmaker of the Week: ESPN

Mark Blaudschun

It's a good thing ESPN didn't open its college football coverage this season with Brent Musburger calling the play by play on the California vs. Hawaii game in Sydney, Australia.

Musburger, you remember, had a signature opening, "You are looking live at ....when he did his opening shots.

Musburger could have said that, of course, but he would have been forced to amend that to "You are looking live at Sydney, and so am I''' because ESPN televised the game with its play by play crew in the United State, a fact that the world wide leader did not mention directly.

In actuality, the Dalai Lama in his exile in residence in India, was 3,000 miles closer to the action than the ESPN crew of Allen Bestwick, Warren Smith and Mike Bellotti, watching the action at ESPN headquarters.

Oh,, they talked about the weather, showed tailgate scenes and commented on the action with few blips. Calling games from studios is not new. It saves money. ESPN has done it before at other venues in other sports, but seldom in college football (to our knowledge) and on its main ESPN network. And certainly not in the unofficial opening of the televised college football season.

I remember as kid in New Jersey listening to the great Les Keiter "recreate'' San Francisco games on the radio for his listeners on the East Coast using news from a Western Union ticker.

But for a Power 5 conference school such as the Pac-12 to go along with that and for ESPN to pass this off as a "live'' broadcast in terms of the announcers being on site? Does anyone think this would happen to an SEC or Big Ten school?

Come on. At the very least, begin the broadcast explaining, what you are doing and then show the game, which is what people wanted to see.

For this bit of 3-Card Monte Broadcasting, ESPN is's Newsmaker of the Week.


Mark Blaudschun