Rugby World Cup 2011 – ITV coverage

First time the Rugby World Championship has been on ITV, I’m watching the Scotland game and am already incredibly frustrated by the inadequate TV coverage being provided by the UK’s main Commercial TV station.

First of all, the score graphic is sometimes there, sometimes not. Whenever there’s a breakdown in play and you want to see the score, it isn’t there. Gone. Disappeared. Even when it does show up, it’s suffering schizophrenia: at half time it swapped sides so that instead of Scotland being on the left, after the (commercial) break it popped up on the right. Took me most of the rest of the game to get used to it. As for the clock, well, it should never disappear, but it was as absent as the score.

Secondly, the graphic itself looked like it had been designed by Fisher Price. The BBC graphics were far better and took up half the space for the same information. OK, the BBC didn’t show the team logos in the graphic, but that really isn’t needed. The bulbous, pretty colours may suit five year olds, but there really aren’t many of those watching the Rugby in the wee small hours are there? It’s far more likely to obscure some crucial part of the play. Far better the semi-transparent BBC graphics.

Talking of obscured views brings me to my third problem with the coverage. Many times when either Scotland or Romania were in their opponents 22 and the commentator said there was an overlap, the position of the TV cameras meant the overlap was not visible to the TV viewer. You just couldn’t see the corner flag, so you couldn’t see the overlap. In these days of HDTV the cameras really don’t need to get in so close, we aren’t watching on 20″ CRT boxes any more, ITV! You have heard of flat screen TVs haven’t you?

There also appeared to be too few actual camera angles. When TV replays were needed to show whether the referee could give a Try or not, there only seemed to be replays from one side of the pitch, not from both sides. It looked totally inadequate, as if the whole shooting match was done on the cheap. Again, the BBC coverage was always better than this.

Overall, it didn’t feel like I was watching anything more than a provincial football game from one of the minor Leagues – and the commentary certainly sounded like that at times. I have to say, I am completely disappointed by this coverage. If ITV think this was in any way even adequate, they must be bonkers.

In ITVs defence though, maybe they have to rely on the local New Zealand TV coverage? If so they need to put more pressure on the locals to bring the coverage of the game up to date, it’s like watching Rugby TV coverage from twenty or thirty years ago. Just because it’s a small ground with no big grandstand is no excuse – this is the World Championship and a specially built mast for camera placement should have been planned for.

In the post match coverage though, that can only be ITVs responsibility – and here, the graphics were again a letdown, particularly the playing list for the England game. No initials or first names with the surnames meant that any references by the commentators to a player by first name meant we had no clue exactly who he was talking about. Unprofessional. Probably came about because ITV don’t have much public school background where initials and surnames are standard practice, unlike the BBC. Small points maybe, but add them up and they become overwhelming.

Let’s hope future matches improve. Next match on my agenda? Argentina v England. A bigger stadium and bigger TV? Here’s hoping…


4 comments on “Rugby World Cup 2011 – ITV coverage

  1. Far from being the first time, ITV have had every World Cup since 1991, and every single time the coverage has been terrible. Nothing has changed about it, and nothing will. Here’s the really bad news, they will be showing it again in 2015!

  2. Thanks for the correction, I really thought the previous matches had at least some BBC influence with the number of cameras, camera angles and so on. The BBCs sports coverage really is second to none. Heck, even the referees mike was switched off so we didn’t hear the decisions. The whole thing just felt so, well, amateurish.

  3. Well, different stadium, different cameras, better coverage. But. Lawrence Dallaglio and Francois Pieenaar messed up the electronic whiteboard presentation pretty robustly – Dallaglio had nerves, whereas Pienaar looked like he was completely at home with the technology. I expect Dallaglio didn’t have the attention span to listen to the whole briefing!

    Steve Rider’s doing a terrible job (as always) and pretending he knows what he’s talking about. He tried very hard not to use the word ‘penalties’ to descibe the many given away during the match – you could tell he was confused between football and rugger. Why he had to stumble and end up saying ‘infringements’ was painful to watch. They’re penalties Steve! Penalties. You call them fouls in football. But his hair looked pretty so that’s the main thing, right?

    Having said that, he is a good anchor, just a bit ignorant of Rugby. Let’s hope he can forget all his football cliches fast, they do grate on the nerves somewhat.

    The graphics are still awful though.

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