As the PGA Tour resumes its season without fans for the Charles Schwab Challenge at Colonial, CBS is turning to the players for help by wearing mics, but some are immediately unwilling.
Without fans on site, sports leagues and networks are searching for ways to enhance broadcasts and make them more engaging. Fake crowd noise and virtual fans have been discussed, with another idea being to mic up the players, giving viewers unique access.
“We’ve been talking to the Tour about it for years,” CBS Sports Chairman Sean McManus said on a conference call. “I think there’s probably a greater appreciation for wanting to contemporize golf coverage a little bit and I think the players are beginning to realize that they can play a real role in that and making the product a little more interesting for the viewer at home.”
It’s not a new concept, we’ve seen live player mics used in exhibition events. Last year, Major League Baseball players were mic’d up during the 2019 All Star Game, and many of them even seemed to enjoy it. It’s also not unprecedented for Major League Baseball to have a few players mic’d up during a regular or post-season game, and the same goes for the NFL. But networks don’t go to those mics live. There is a difference in having a player mic’d up for live audio vs retrieving sound that will be edited and aired later.
During their highly successful coverage of The Match 2, Turner Sports had Tiger Woods, Phil Mickelson, Tom Brady and Peyton Manning mic’d up. Justin Thomas served as an on-course reporter for the event, so if anyone was going to accept the request to wear a microphone while playing, you would expect he might be on board. But Thomas made it clear he’s not interested.
“I would not wear a mic, no. That’s not me,” Thomas told GolfWeek’s Tim Schmitt. “What I talk about with (caddie) Jimmy (Johnson) and what I talk about with the guys in my group is none of anybody else’s business, no offense.”
Jon Rahm also expressed disinterest in wearing a mic for the tournament. “I wouldn’t support it just because they might need a 20-, 30-second difference from live, might be a little bit delayed. And I’m not the only one; a lot of people swear or something comes up where you can hear it. I don’t think it would be the best thing to do.”
As other sports return it will be interesting to see what kind of access fans are granted for player conversations. For the NBA especially, with mics already on or near the court, how much of that will be filtered and how much of it will air without the players’ approval?
Warriors Fans Throw Objects At Charles Barkley On Inside the NBA Set
“Barkley yelled back at the crowd but never actually left the set.”
Charles Barkley is no stranger to being the object of fans’ ire. The cities of San Antonio and Cleveland have a history of being the butt of the Round Mound of Rebound’s jokes. Thursday night in San Francisco, fans of the Warriors took things to a different level, throwing objects at Barkley on the Inside the NBA set.
The TNT studio show was broadcasting live from outside the Chase Center. The crowd chanted “Chuck, you suck!” at Barkley before the game. After Golden State clinched a birth in the NBA Finals, things got physical.
Fans threw things at the set, including a rolled-up t-shirt, which hit Charles Barkley in the back of the head. That resulted in Barkley leaving his seat and bowing up to the audience.
“Come on Chuck!” Ernie Johnson pleaded as Kenny Smith repeatedly said “Sit down Chuck.”
Barkley yelled back at the crowd but never actually left the set.
Now that the Western Conference Finals are over, TNT’s NBA schedule has concluded. That doesn’t mean Charles Barkley won’t return to San Francisco for the NBA Finals, but it is highly unlikely given the reception he has received there.
Barkley spent most of the postseason telling Golden State fans they were annoying and need to shut up and saying the city of San Francisco has “dirty ass streets”.
Jon Miller To Call MLB Sunday Leadoff Game On Peacock
“According to a press release, Jason Benetti has a scheduling conflict.”
Legendary play-by-play man Jon Miller will be returning to the national broadcast booth on Sunday. He will call the San Francisco Giants vs. Cincinnati Reds game for Peacock. He’ll be joined in the booth by Barry Larkin and Shawn Estes.
According to a press release, Jason Benetti has a scheduling conflict. Benetti, the regular play-by-play voice of Peacock’s MLB Sunday Leadoff, is also the television voice of the Chicago White Sox. NBC Sports Chicago has prioritized this weekend’s series between the White Sox and Cubs, making Benetti unavailable to the national broadcast.
Miller has been calling Giants games since 1997 and previously shared the Sunday Night Baseball booth on ESPN with hall of famer Joe Morgan.
The broadcast, called MLB Sunday Leadoff, will begin at 11 a.m. with pregame coverage hosted by Ahmed Fareed. The game broadcast begins at 11:30 a.m.
The game will take place in an exclusive two-hour broadcast window prior to the start of the rest of the league’s day of games.
Amazon Eyeing Pat McAfee For Thursday Night Football Megacast
“No deal is done yet. A source tells McCarthy that it hinges on McAfee’s very busy schedule, but a Megacast is appealing to the former punter.’
First it was the Mannings. Now it’s McAfee. Michael McCarthy of Front Office Sports reports that Pat McAfee could be at the center of an alternate broadcast of Thursday Night Football on Amazon in the 2022 season.
No deal is done yet. A source tells McCarthy that it hinges on McAfee’s very busy schedule, but a Megacast is appealing to the former punter.
Rumors of Amazon’s interest in McAfee began to bubble up last month. While he never directly addressed them, he did make mention on his show that he was “up to something” and insinuated that Amazon wasn’t the only company he was talking to.
McAfee has said on his show in the past that he wants to be part of an NFL broadcast. However, he is firm in that it would not be in the broadcast booth.
“I can’t call games. Not yet,” McAfee said on a show in February. “Have to be done with this show to call games. Because that’s like a 3-day, 4-day thing.”
In addition to his daily show, McAfee is also committed to the WWE. He is on the road for Smackdown every Friday.
There is no word on exactly what a Pat McAfee-centered broadcast would look like. When reports first came out regarding discussions with McAfee, Ryan Glasspiegel of The New York Post reported that moving The Pat McAfee Show to Amazon was on the table. If that happens, it would make sense to use his entire crew on the Thursday Night Football presentation.