February 02, 2004

the superbowl and "I18N"

i'm in bangkok (thailand) watching the "international" broadcast via a live feed from a sports network that starts with an "E" and ends with an "N" of superbowl XXXVIII (38), which this year is sort of unusual (as far as i can recall). the two american announcers are explaining everything, and i mean everything. what a punt is, how to get a first down, what zone defense is, what "play action" is, why the players wear helmets and pads (yes, really), etc. i suppose if this were the very first football or superbowl game being broadcast internationally that might be appropriate but since my neighbors & i got up at 4:00am to watch this game, maybe we know a thing or two already? i'll guess this is the situation in many places around the world. they are also converting measurements into the SI (metric) system, one of my Thai neighbor's laughingly asked me "when was the last time you heard an NFL linebacker referred to in kilograms and meters?" these guys are also peppering their announcing with references to that other football (soccer to us Americans) and even referring to this as "American" football. the local (Thai language) announcers are ignoring all that goop and announcing the game knowing their audience. there's a lesson here i guess. one of the interesting things about watching sports "overseas" is that many of the NFL games we get here are raw live feeds. these are really raw, stripped down broadcasts without the special features (sideline interviews, half-time reports, etc.) you'd get from normal network broadcasts. the plus side to this is that we get to see the producer/director shots & hear live mics when they break for commericials (there are no ads permitted on our local cable TV) and during half-time. we'll see the cameras zooming in on hotties in the stands, preview in-game presentations (the replays, analysis, highlights, etc.) and hear what the announcers really think of the game, officiating, etc. (which can sometimes be exactly opposite of what they say when they're "officially live") and every once in a while hear some announcer going beserk (once heard one former QB announcer doing an expletive laden tirade at somebody over the phone). now that's good TV ;-)


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