That Kyle Beckerman…He’s So Hot Right Now!

TSG Travel Note: While Matthew is making like Frodo down in New Zealand, I spent a tidy 15.5 hours driving from San Diego to Breckenridge, CO yesterday. We are now back to our regularly scheduled programming.

Player Heat Maps...probably not as insightful for the goalkeeper.

Here’s hoping that JP Dellacamera doesn’t paraphrase Mugatu from Zoolander during tonight’s telecast as ESPN goes…well…all ESPNy on the MLS Cup Final broadcast.

The Worldwide Leader will be experimenting with optical tracking technology during tonight’s game which will attempt to quantify the game and player performances with speed and distance stats as well as a “heat map” of player locations.

In addition to the tacking technology, the broadcast will feature 19 cameras including two super slo-mo cameras, ESPN Axis which rotates camera angles on replays and an EASports FIFA video game like Offside line.

It should be interesting to see how the new stats and graphics contribute to the understanding of the match. ESPN, however, has their work cut out for them as soccer is a game with few breaks and the last thing you want is for the fancy broadcast toys to intrude on the play and viewers.

Moving to a more American-style broadcast may offend some of the purists, but progress always upsets the hard-core traditionalist. Taking a different perspective, broadcasting innovations are just another attempt to engage fans in the sport, so a fist-bump to ESPN for trying in that regard.

Going forward, it would be great for viewers to have a choice of a stats-and-graphics laden broadcast or a more traditional broadcast by simulcasting on two different channels. And at some point in the future, I’m guessing viewers will have near complete control of graphics through interactive television that allows them to turn on-and-off on a stat-by-stat or graphic-by-graphic basis.

Until that day, however, here’s to hoping that ESPN, soccer and American broadcasts grow together in a way that preserves the rhythm and flow of the game while educating new and old fans alike.

14 responses to this post.

  1. Posted by Antonio H. on 2009/11/22 at 10:18 AM

    Jermaine Defoe. enough said


  2. It would also help if ESPN didn’t harp on Beckham every few seconds. The man is deadly accurate when playing a cross or free-kick. However, a Pele, Messi, or Crissy he is not. Continuing to focus all energies on only him will leave the less knowledgable soccer fans scratching their heads and wondering what all the fuss is about.

    It would also be beneficial if John Harkes wasn’t a bad knock-off of John Madden, but without being as over-the-top as Madden was. The producers should also mute his mic whenever he starts reminiscing about the ’90’s.


  3. Posted by shane on 2009/11/22 at 11:27 AM

    ESPN was on the right track when they signed Martin Tyler.

    Now they are loosing me with the “who’s hot, who’s not” BS Graphs and stats…


  4. Posted by Dylan on 2009/11/22 at 11:59 AM

    Here’s hoping for a hell of a game. That will attract more fans than any facts or heat maps.

    Galaxy wins 3-2 in OT.


  5. Posted by Kevin on 2009/11/22 at 1:06 PM

    Here’s hoping that LA cries themselves to sleep at night. It may sound biased, but the bottom line is LA doesn’t deserve to be there. I’ll be cheering for Findley and company.
    RSL beats LA after a hard fought 6-3 ownage.


  6. Posted by Michael on 2009/11/22 at 5:26 PM

    I agree with Nick – ESPN loves to talk about Beckham, and I’m bored with it all. I can’t wait to hear about Beck’s bum right ankle and how ineffective he is in the game.

    Kevin – you’re on target as well.

    In the last few matches, Becks seems to beg the refs for a penalty every time he touches the ball.It’s sad. I’d really like to get behind Landon Donovan, especially considering what he’s done for the USMNT, but with Becks on the team, I just can’t bring myself to do it. I

    Go RSL!


  7. Posted by Dylan on 2009/11/22 at 9:45 PM

    Great game! Can’t believe the Donovan choke.


    • Posted by Kevin on 2009/11/22 at 10:06 PM

      I think what happened was that he was going to go to his right because that’s where he like to go, but on the approach he noticed Rimando was already going that way. He tried to change his mind quickly, but the end result wasn’t great. (great for me though)


  8. […] TSG Glossary « That Kyle Beckerman…He’s So Hot Right Now! […]


  9. Posted by kaya on 2009/11/23 at 1:10 AM

    I don’t usually watch MLS games, so I’m not sure in what way Beckerman is so hot… but damn if he’s not the doppelganger of the hypno-DJ at the Derelict show!
    I can’t claim to have watched the games enough to be qualified to comment (but I won’t let that stop me,) but I did watch the sizeable parts of the ends of the last 3 of the Galaxy games (Chivas, Houston, tonight) and the last 2, Donovan seemed to be up to his disappearing act. Both him and Beckham looked slow against Houston in the 2nd half.
    I only tuned in at the 80th minute for tonight’s game. Sadly, this must’ve been the first time I’ve seen Clint Mathis playing since like 2002.
    How can a midfield featuring Donovan and Beckham have such a hard time maintaining possession?
    I only saw the “heat map” once and it didn’t do a lot for me. I guess at least it didn’t take away anything, either. Considering we’ll all soon be “watching tv” from our internet connection, there’s no doubt that the interaction thing is around the corner.


  10. Posted by kaya on 2009/11/23 at 1:15 AM

    Oh, and I totally agree with the commentary on the games. How many times do I need to have it explained that “Beckham’s passes are so well weighted” and that he “passes to the teammate in *front* of them, so they don’t have to break their run”. I know the objective is to get everyone to the table, but any adult could figure out these things on their own.


    • Kaya – not that you saw this, tuning-in in the 80th and all, but Beckham actually held the Galaxy attack back on a couple of occasions due to a poor pass that wasn’t perfectly weighted, not seeing the open many, or making the incorrect decision when faced with two open teammates. Did the announcers mention his mistakes then? Of course not…


      • Posted by Kevin on 2009/11/23 at 9:32 AM

        Why would they? They would never dream about talking bad about Becks. Did you hear the pregame? How many times did you hear Donovan, Beckham, LA Galaxy and how many times did you hear anything about RSL? ESPN was just loving Becks in final, but if Becks had one MLS, in my eyes, would’ve lost all credibility.

        With this years MLS Cup, both teams leave you with a sour taste in your mouth to be champs. LA I could buy as the champs, but they flat out don’t deserve to be there. RSL is tough to swallow because there’s so many teams that are better than them. Even though RSL are the champs its strange because you can’t really call them the best team in MLS.


      • Posted by kaya on 2009/11/23 at 11:59 AM

        Yeah, yeah. I didn’t feel like I missed a whole lot😛
        Beckham’s “vision” seems to me very spotty, but they paid so much for goldenballs, I can understand why the commentators don’t want to point out the shortcomings. I did catch at least one “WTF” Becks moment last night.
        Can’t believe no one else had an epiphany that it was Beckerman who played the evil dj in Zoolander…


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