Wednesday, May 19, 2010

Broadcasting fail

This post contains a tiny wee bit of language. I’m in a bad mood. When I’m in a bad mood, I do that. If you’re bothered by that, don’t read. Hi, Dad.

So last night I’m watching with baited breath as Mick Rogers, Dave Z, and Levi are descending Bonny Doon and rolling into Santa Cruz. They pass the 2K to go sign. The peloton is 20 seconds back. It looks as if they’ll get caught. I’m on the edge of my seat, waiting to see who wins. Will they get caught? If not, which of the three will win? My pulse is racing. Beads of sweat accumulate on the back of my neck. Anticipation, excitement, everything great about bike racing is about to climax.

And then one of the kids knocks on the door, awakened by a bad dream. The moment is lost. We’re not getting it back. Instead we get to make warm milk and sing songs and try to find words of comfort.

Or at least that’s what it felt like, if you know what I mean. Wink, wink. Nudge, nudge.

There’s less than two minutes of racing left, and Versus cut away from the race so we could listen to a couple of mulletted, overweight Canadians introduce some dudes with missing teeth, ice skates, and unpronounceable-can-I-buy-a-fkng-vowel last names (or, not to be outdone, there's also the guy whose last name is, in actual fact, Satan). The hockey game wouldn’t actually start for another 25 minutes, and the winner wouldn’t be determined for two hours, but no, we can’t possibly cut over just a wee bit late so people can see the outcome of the bike race. Talk about blue balls.

At least they warned us that the cutover was coming and said to go to teamradioshack’ to watch the rest. Except those of us with jobs who were watching the recording went to the website only to have the outcome smack us in the face in the form of a 32 point font headline. And no video of the conclusion.

Combine this with the inability to show more than 20 seconds of action from yesterday’s stage because of a little rain, and in all of three days of racing when they were actually doing it themselves rather than just commentating on the French television video feed, Versus has achieved a complete and total broadcasting fail. WTF, Versus?

It’s not like they’re alone in their ineptitude, either. I’ve pretty much gotten used to skipping the first hour of the Giro d’Italia broadcast on Universal Sports because for some reason the bike race has been superseded by an infomercial for some cooking contraption endorsed by—I shit you not—Mr. T.

Because forget Mario Batali, Rick Bayless, or Thomas Keller. When I want culinary expertise, the first person I think of is the guy who played B.A. Baracus.

I realize that all of us leg-shaving, lycra wearing, anorexic, cyclists who are obsessed with other men’s bottoms (not that there’s anything wrong with that) are a tiny minority of the population at large, and that we should be grateful to even have any cycling coverage on TV at all beyond a three minute summary of the entire Tour de France on Wide World of Sports.

But still, getting bumped by hockey and a Mr. T infomercial is almost worse than no coverage at all.


  1. Definitely a big fat "Fail" for Versus on that one. The funny thing was that the fact that no-one saw the end made me feel a little better because I would have missed the end anyway due to my DVR ending the recording on the hour. With 10k to go I checked the time left on the DVR and I knew my recording would miss the last couple of Kilometers. Sweet win by DZ though.

  2. It looks like BikeSnobNYC and Lance weren't too happy about it either:

  3. i saw it live online, stupid roadies

  4. All I have to say is sucka!

  5. Hey, Versus: If you're going to cover cycling, do it right or don't do it at all.