clock menu more-arrow no yes mobile

Filed under:

FanPulse: Broadcast crews, TV ratings, and fan confidence

How much do you like the people calling the games on TV?

Golden State Warriors v Dallas Mavericks Photo by Tim Heitman/NBAE via Getty Images

We’re in uncharted territory with the NBA currently suspended for the foreseeable future. The fallout from the COVID-19 pandemic continues to evolve and impact countless thousands in the United States and millions worldwide. As such, this week’s FanPulse question may seem dated. You really can’t predict the news, after all.

You, the fans, were asked a few questions this week. As we do, we’ll start with the national question first. It centered on the formerly buzzy topic of network broadcast crews. You know the ones—the duos and trios that the national networks roll out nightly. They’re not created equal and the attitudes and opinions they exude can go a long way in shaping the enjoyment of viewing a game.

And that’s the crux of our national question. How do you feel about what is said on national NBA broadcasts? Well, it turns out that y’all are pretty evenly divided on whether the talking heads (David Byrne excluded) impact the viewing experience.

Look, we all get tired of some of the former players and coaches who serve as color commentators. Jeff Van Gundy, for one, catches a lot of grief online for his colorful, off-topic rants on air. This tweet in particular encapsulates his essence:

Yet, to say that the sometimes whimsical nature of the broadcast teams contributes to the league’s ratings taking a dip is a step too far, in my opinion. There are myriad reasons for that and it’s a stretch to assume that people are tuning out because they don’t like this or that color commentator. It’s clear that people are still watching because they take to Twitter to complain about them intensely.

That said, it’s clear that one network has the best broadcasters, according to our poll. It seems that the majority of you really like the TNT broadcasters. OK then.

This is a bit of a shock. Y’all realize Reggie Miller is on TNT, right? I know that NBA Twitter isn’t representative of the world at large, but damn, y’all hate on Reggie every game he calls. The man can’t catch a break. Chris Webber is also on TNT. What is going on here? And local broadcasts are No. 2? Man, Tommy Heinsohn is bad. Michael Cage is bad.

I personally said ESPN has the best broadcast. I really like their studio show because it plays some of the best music in all of television. Further, they still have Doris Burke and Mike Breen. Those two really need to be on the same broadcast team already. It’s almost offensive that ESPN hasn’t made that happen yet.

Anyway. How about those Dallas Mavericks broadcasters?

You seem to like them.

Mark Followill and Derek Harper helm the commentary for local RSN, FOX Sports Southwest. Although he’s been doing this for years now, Harper is still relatively new to the job in my mind, serving as a replacement for the great Bob Ortegel. On a similar note, Jeff “Skin” Wade is the new Laura Green.

Followill and Harper provide for entertaining commentary most of the time. I don’t watch many of the local broadcasts because I am at most home games, but I know their work well. Harper occasionally jinxes three-point shots. He’s harmless otherwise. Mavs Moneyball’s official stance on Followill is “no comment.”

While your confidence is high when it comes to the broadcast team, it took a slight dip when it comes to the actual Mavs.

I really can’t figure y’all out. There’s so much hot and cold going on with how you view the team. That’s fine, obviously. It’s just a bit confusing. The best I can guess is that the mounting injuries keep everyone somewhat worried. There’s also the fact that the Mavericks are atrocious in the clutch. OK, I get it now. Still, though, fan confidence is pretty high. Pending playoff seeds will do that.

Alright, I don’t know what next week hold for the NBA and this site. The postponed season and ongoing virus have everyone concerned. If we’re back in this space next week that’ll be grand. We’ll continue to keep you updated on all the latest news as it unfolds and how it pertains to the Mavs.

Wash your hands.