The best sports announcers enrich, but don’t dominate a telecast, says Tampa Bay Times’ sports broadcast critic, Tom Jones.
Sportscasters also teach him something he didn’t know before he tuned into the game.
Jones is one of the sports media reporters we contacted regarding their thoughts about what makes good play-by-play and color talent.
Good play-by-play announcers tell you exactly what you need to know
“Ultimately, the broadcast should be about the game, not the broadcasters,” Jones said. “That’s why I love play-by-play guys such as Al Michaels, Mike Emrick, Joe Buck and Jim Lampley. “These announcers tell you what is happening and make sure that you know exactly what you need to know, but they don’t have that ‘look at me’ quality.”
He said that with good play-by-play announcers, he never has a question about what he’s watching. “If the play-by-play announcers are properly calling the Xs and Os while building proper (not false) enthusiasm and drama, then I’m locked in.”
Color analysts should provide fresh insight and entertain
Jones said he appreciates similar traits in color analysts, although he gives them more leeway to exhibit their personalities because it’s their job to entertain, to a degree.
Most importantly, he said, an analyst’s job is to teach his or her audience something it didn’t know; provide insight about why something happened and what may happen next.
“Don’t just tell me what I can see.”
Jones said that while he tends to give more credence to analysts that played or coached the game, it doesn’t determine a good announcer.
“Just because someone played or coached doesn’t mean they can communicate their thoughts. But it does give analysts a little more authority,” Jones said.
Return to this space to read what other media that cover media think about what they see and hear on the airwaves. In the mean time, please tell us what you think. What makes a good play-by-play voice or color analyst for your favorite sports?