How often are sports commentators not at the event, but in a remote studio using the video feed?

The TV sports channels often have an associated streaming channel where they provide additional content. For a given event, sometimes they will provide the same content that was broadcast with the announcers, but sometimes it’s just the raw video with no commentators. This got me wondering how often the broadcast commentators are in a regular video studio in the station’s headquarters rather than at the location of the event.

For example, I was watching a multi-day skiing event in Europe and missed a day. I later watched that day on the streaming channel. It was just the plain video feed with no commentators. It was the same video stream that the announcers would normally talk over. At the end, the credits said that video was provided by some European company. I’m guessing that a local video company provides the stream and networks in different countries will use the stream for their broadcast with their own commentators.

With this system, it seems there would be no need to send commentators to the event itself. They can be in a studio in one country doing live commentary of an event in another country. Is that type of thing common?

It certainly could be done, but I think for major sports it’s pretty rare.

In the old days, perhaps more common. Here’s an interesting fact about President Reagan’s early career in radio:

I cannot say how often this is done, but ESPN has increasingly done this for NCAA basketball games in the past few years.

Univision used to do it when Andres Cantor announced World Cup matches.

At least for the English-language broadcasts, it’s pretty much never done for the NFL and Major League Baseball. In the NFL, they will often take pains to point out that the announcers are there (even to the point of having a sideline announcer on the field).

One exception to this: in recent years, some of the networks which carry NFL games have had a special commentator who weighs in on calls by the officials (particularly those which are being reviewed with instant replay). That commentator (usually a retired official himself) covers all of that network’s games (which means that he may only “appear” during a particular broadcast for a few minutes, if at all), is only called on to comment when there’s such a play to review, and is usually sitting in a studio back at network HQ.

A friend of mine is a broadcaster and part of the “freelance” Olympic coverage pool during those years. While NBC most recently sent him to Brazil for the summer Olympics, I remember him telling me that he covered Sochi Winter Olympics events (bobsled and luge, for example) from a studio in Vermont, watching the feed that we see, as if he was using a courtside monitor.

That’s especially convenient since the NFL replay officials are also sitting in a studio in New York.

On our Arizona Diamondbacks (or Suns, I can’t remember for sure which) broadcast, they mention that all home games are simulcast in Spanish, by a regular announcer team.

That implies that they don’t pay los dos guys to go along with the team. Leaving aside the poor message that sends to the Spanish-speaking audience, one wonders why the Spanish speakers couldn’t at least do a SL broadcast by watching the main video feed. It would at least be better than the nothing they currently have.

Doesn’t simulcast mean that it’s on both radio and TV at the same time? I don’t see the implication that the Spanish speaking announcers are anywhere but at the stadium, or using a different video feed than their English speaking counterparts. :confused:

Red Sox games can be heard in Spanish by using the SAP button on the remote. (“Buenos noches, amigos!”)

Depending on my memory of what they said, which could be wrong…

It was still only home games that got the Spanish-speaking announcers. If they are too cheap to spring for taking the announcers along on road trips (and the necessary equipment for another audio feed) I thought they could at least give the Spanish-speaking audience a broadcast driven by the TV feed. Put the guys up in a local studio with a TV and let them announce from that.

It seems like some sports would lend themselves to video commentating just because the commentators can’t see the whole course anyway. Sports like skiing, bobsled, marathons, golf, etc. are done over great distances and the commentators would just be able to see a small part of the course. They would have to be using video even if they were at the event. So it seems an easy step to leave the commentators at the home studio and get the feed from a satellite.

But sports played in a smaller setting where the commentators can see the whole field wouldn’t be the same. When the commentators can see the whole field, they can comment on whatever they find interesting. So having commentators physically at football, baseball, track, swimming, etc. provide more value than just what’s on the video feed.

I remember watching a “behind the scenes” show about the BBC’s formula 1 coverage which showed the commentators in a box commentating on the video feeds, which makes sense as you can’t commentate on formula 1 by watching the track.

Sky covers it in the UK now, though, so I don’t know how they do it.

This was a routine thing for baseball broadcasts in the days of radio. Small stations couldn’t get a feed of the game, so they hired an announcer who got the play-by-play via teletype. He’d then make up a broadcast, filling in details, since each pitch would only give the type of pitch and whether it was a ball or strike.

Occasionally, the teletype would go down and the announce would have to keep things going and pretend, for instance, there was a rain delay.

I caught one of those when I was a kid. It sounded weird, since there ware no crowd sounds in the background.

I think that this is done somewhat frequently for European soccer coverage in the US. Not for the English Premier League, but for some of the German and/or Spanish coverage. I’m nearly certain that a lot of the commentary for last year’s European Championships was done from a studio in the US.

When the Longhorn Network doesn’t have the broadcast rights to University of Texas football games, they show a bunch of former players sitting in barcoloungers commenting on the game while they watch it on CBS. Lately, that’s been better than the games.

I can’t remember even suspecting that that was the case.

On some feeds, you may be getting a satellite transmissio of the stadium video that goes to the control truck parked outside, but the announces are still inside watching the game, and the audio and video gets mixed for the network uplink. For the past couple of years, NBA TV, for its subscribers of all-market games, has specially produced features during time-outs and half-time, but the viewer gets his choice of the home or the away PBP announcers, both of whom are at courtside.

The World Series has two separate video feeds. One is carried on Fox (English), the other is for worldwide distribution, which can be bought by any network in the world, and it can be seen in the USA on Fox Deportes. It has a lot fewer bullshit camera shots of dugouts, spectators with lame signs, etc. Since Fox Deportes is not the originator of their video feed, their announcers are at the mercy of what they see as their video, but as far as I know, the Spanish announcers are at the ballpark watching the game, too.

As for the Reagan reference above, the use of a ticker-tape for baseball play by play persisted much later than that. As recently as 1959, the Cincinnati Reds did not send their PBP radio announcers on road trips. They called games live from Crosley Field, but for away games, they sat in the Cincinnati studio and read an account of the game from Western Union. For a two-man broadcasting team, that’s not so hard. I saw an NBA games on ESPN the other night, where the announcers basically did a radio talk show, pretty much ignoring the game that was playing out on video.

This is true for almost all of the American broadcasts of the F1 races. I’ve noticed that the network only sends their guys TO the event if it’s close-by. I’m sure it has to do with $.

They usually have a “man on the ground” at the actual event that they’ll cut back-and-forth to a few times. He’s not calling the race, though.

I remember reading a newspaper story in the mid 1970s, about a radio station which still did its “live” broadcasts of baseball games (for a minor-league team, IIRC), in that way, using sound effects to simulate the game’s ambiance. At that point, it was considered a quaint anachronism.

For those who follow tennis in the US, this is a pretty regular occurrence. The main Tennis Channel personalities generally work out of a studio in Los Angeles, which they make no secret of. They’re often watching the international feeds of tennis tournaments overseas and providing their own play-by-play/color, particularly for the smaller tournaments. They will even announce at times that they’re going to switch to the “real” feed (which can sometimes lead to witnessing entertaining announcing from European broadcasters).

The exception is during major tournaments, likely because so many of the Tennis Channel announcers are former players who also contribute to ESPN broadcasts during Grand Slam events.