We have had the AFLW matches played and the first round of the JLT Community pre-season AFL matches played, with it we have listened while watching the matches on the TV, the commentary, and would have to say, that for the most part, it still is ok, nothing great, just ok. This weekend I also watched the NBA All-Star Weekend and I do watch the NBA series, especially during the Play-Offs, and the commentary for both the All-Star and the NBA matches as a whole far outweigh the commentators for the AFL in all areas.
Commentating for a sport should be and must be both factual, knowledgeable and entertaining, because those who speak ensure, or try to ensure that the TV audience becomes involved in the game, whatever it is, both as a visual and hearing experience. One does not exclude the other, I’m not talking about radio commentary, as that is a different aspect all together. The commentary not only enhances the experience, but can also allow the TV viewing audience to become part of the experience of the game.
Why is it then that in the AFL the commentators show not only their biasness, but they believe that the audience listening want to know how their one-sided viewpoint on a team or a player. A commentator’s role is to enter the commentary booth, leave their team/player biasness in a box by the door, comment on the game in front of them, then as they leave, collect that box. Commentating one the merit of just one team, irrespective of the game situation or the team, shows a little bit of arrogance in a commentators stance and for the audience, illustrates a lack of respecting the audience as a whole.
The NBA commentators are not only entertaining, but don’t take one side over the other and just comment on the game in front of them and as a viewer, you get caught up in the atmosphere of a game. You do get that sometimes in the AFL, but not a lot and we, as the audience, must ask why?
This is not aimed at all AFL commentators, just most. Dermott Brereton, an avid Hawthorn supporter and ex-champion player, leaves his support for his team in a box at the commentary booth, a lot don’t. At the Adelaide vs Carlton AFLW match, from the start of the game, the commentary biasness was blatant and obvious, and if these commentators want to achieve any respect from the footy viewers, they must correct this.
With the start of the AFL season rapidly approaching, commentators must make the audience its prime focus, by commentating on the match in an unbiased way that is both knowledgeable and entertaining. The AFL has invested a lot of time and resources in the TV deals with both Free-to-Air and Foxtel, and audiences will switch off in droves if they allow commentators to be anything more than what they are, commentators describing the match in front of them. They need to leave their team/player favourites in a box at the door and pick it up on the way out. If they want to treated and viewed with respect, then they need to ensure this, otherwise they will be viewed as nothing but overpaid hacks who are only there for their name, nothing more. Our sport deserves more respect when it comes to commentating, on all fronts, irrespective of what team is playing.