Real Salt Lake tried something new with its first television broadcast of the season … and a lot of fans pretty much hated it.
Several times during the RSL at Dallas game, the telecast was interrupted by segments featuring Rebecca Cade doing pointless interviews at a fan watch party at the Beer Bar in downtown Salt Lake City.
The segments were disruptive. They added no value to the telecast. Except perhaps for the owners of the Beer Bar. And maybe for the relatives of the random fans Cade interviewed.
And the tradeoff was the high annoyance factor for people who tuned in to watch Real Salt Lake take on FC Dallas.
Some of the kinder comments from fans on social media came on RSL’s Facebook page: “Please drop the random Beer Bar interviews that interrupt the game.” And “I hope that it was just it was an opening away game. But, yes, very annoying.”
Things got off to a rough start in the first half when the video of the game itself was shrunk down during the run of play so that Cade — repeatedly referred to by David James as “the newest member of our broadcast team” — could interview one of the owners of the Beer Bar. For about a minute and a half — from the seventh minute into the ninth minute — what amounted to an in-game commercial took place on the lower right corner of the screen while the game shrank somewhat to the upper left. Play-by-play man James and analyst Brian Dunseth were silenced as the action continued, and the action included a decent chance for RSL’s Damir Kreilach. (Not that close, but decent.)
I have nothing against fans. I count myself among them. But shutting off James and Dunseth in the 30th and 83rd minutes and making the game smaller on the screen so that Cade could talk to random, unidentified fans added nothing whatsoever to the game.
Hey, when I’m sitting in Rio Tinto Stadium, I try to tune out fans who think they’re soccer experts.
Not that any of this is the fault of the fans Cade interviewed. Not that much of this was her fault. Reporting from the sidelines during a game is a difficult job under the best of circumstances. Unless you’ve got information on an injury or an upcoming substitution or an explanation of why a coach was visibly irate, it’s not worth doing.
“Reporting” (and I use that term loosely) from a bar more than a thousand miles away from the game makes that impossible. Which left time for Cade to interview another Beer Bar owner about the wonders of his new RS Ale (great name) and do her own commercial: “For those of you, even if you don’t like beer, I would recommend trying it because I love it.”
Honestly, I don’t want to pick on Cade, but … really?
Having said all that, here’s the bottom line: With the demise of the American Sports Network last August, Real Salt Lake once again is picking up all the production costs for its games. That left about a $500,000 hole in the budget.
That explains why RSL sold the streaming rights to KSL. Why it tried the Beer Bar thing Saturday. And that was an attempt to make the gamecast more appealing to viewers — particularly for people streaming the game.
That I can’t explain.
The folks at RSL acknowledge that they’ve got some work to do — and word is we’ll see fewer cut-ins going forward.
Here’s the other bottom line: If this is the price I have to pay to watch an otherwise well-produced, top-level telecast of Real Salt Lake … I’ll live with it.
I’ll try to tune it out like annoying fans in the stadium.