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Archive: BBC Sport has shown itself the way
In a previous article I praised the BBC for its coverage of Formula 1 ahead of the sport's move to Sky for UK viewers. Along with BBC Golf and Sky Cricket, these set the standards for sporting coverage and punditry in this country.
For the past two weeks I, and much of Great Britain, have been captivated by London 2012. In part this has been down to the BBC through its red button service allowing the public live access to every single event.
However this is not the sole reason for this success, many of its presenters, pundits and commentators have come to the fore during these games. On the presenting side, by far the most successful has been Clare Balding. She was the lead in the Aquatics Centre, displaying knowledge, wit and engagement with her audience. Balding's ability to host an unfamiliar sport shows just what can be achieved with a natural presenting ability and familiarisation with detailed research.
This has also been typified in the athletics arena of London 2012 by commentator Steve Cram and pundit Michael Johnson. For Steve Cram his place in this post was cemented with his natural and high tempo commentary of Mo Farrah's 5000m victory and Jamaica's gold glory in the 4 x 100m relay. In addition whatever the BBC been paying Michael Johnson to keep him off US networks is not enough. The man knows his sport and his also not afraid to be open and honest in his views.
Lessons can be learnt from these individuals, particularly the BBC's coverage of live football and Match of the Day. Football coverage on any channel rarely stimulates as too often individuals such as Hansen, Shearer, Redknapp, Lawrenson and more state the obvious and don't appear to display a modicum of intellect to the viewer. Sky Sports have introduced some sense to their coverage with the likes of Gary Neville and Graeme Souness, but it isn't enough. The BBC needs to learn from what it has achieved during these Games and start to appeal to the football fans who want engaging content.
Let's hope those with enough sense at the BBC can start to influence the quality of football content and maintain the success that has been achieved in the studios at London 2012.