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Vote: Games Without Announcers

By Mike Silva ~ April 16th, 2012. Filed under: Sports Media Commentary.

“We are just moments away from the kickoff of today’s Jets-Dolphins game and a telecast that figures to be different. The fact that we try something different and dare to has been greeted with almost every kind of reaction, from good-natured humor to applause to some surprising anger.” - Bryant Gumbel’s first on-camera words on Dec. 20, 1980

At the end of the 1980 season, Don Ohlmeyer, the executive producer of NBC Sports, decided to try something different for the Jets-Dolphins broadcast. Neither team was going anywhere, so it was the perfect time to attempt to broadcast the game without announcers. According to ESPN, the NBC  received 831 pro comments out of the 1,349 responses.

Over 30 years later technology makes it possible to broadcast a game without some of the production problems NBC had back on that day. Even with announcers you can sometimes hear chatter on the field or court. ABC had to bleep out a four letter word that someone yelled at the foul line during yesterday’s Knicks-Heat game.

Maybe at some point in the season FOX or ESPN should try this. Maybe they do it during a matchup that doesn’t promise good ratings. Would you be interested in something like this?

Personally, I wouldn’t mind it as a once-a-year “event,” but I enjoy- especially when watching a baseball game- the conversation during the game.

I am curious to hear your thoughts

Mike Silva is a freelance writer and radio host since March of 2007. This website is his own personal "digest" of New York Baseball He's also hosts NYBD Radio on Blog Talk Radio and 1240 AM WGBB. Check out his sports media commentary at www.sportsmediawatchdog.com. Check out his official website, www.mikesilvamedia.com
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8 Responses to Vote: Games Without Announcers

  1. Eagle

    Not for a baseball game (other than Joe Buck). If it was a hockey game that might make sense, especially with mic on ref.

    I can’t see why sports leagues don’t try it with their online broadcast. No FCC issues.

  2. Chuck

    I actually watch “soundless” quite often, it’s hard to concentrate on picking up pitch sequences or signs with so much pointless drivel going on.

    Some announcers are unlistenable and the decision is made easy for me..Thom Brennamann used to be the lead for the Dbacks and he is awful.

  3. Steve

    Every game where Joe Buck is the scheduled announcer would be a game that I would watch without sound. Actually, every game that he does announce I DO watch without sound. He is the worst. He thinks he is doing radio play by play and he also knows nothing about the game other than what line they put on screen for him to recite.

  4. Bill

    I would love to have FOX broadcast their games with a no-sound option when Buck and McCarver (especially Tim) are the broadcasters. And get the delay in sync with the radio so I can listen to the local radio broadcast and not be 10 seconds or so behind the TV!

    The technology already exists, there is a SAP channel (typically used for Spanish).

  5. Sandy

    Although I agree one per year would be enough. I like hearing what the announcers have to say - not so much the play by play guys, but the former players talking about what’s going on.

  6. Marty Reinders

    Silence is better than Joe Buck any day…

  7. AAS

    I like Joe Buck and Tim McCarver(except them talking about hair coloring last weekend.! But radio announcers are so much better!

  8. Anonymous

    Sounds more like a gimmick. Good announcers add insight and analysis, plus historical perspective.

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