Stick to Camera 1
I took the above screenshot during yesterday's 2-1 victory for Sacramento Republic FC against Portland Timbers 2. This pass from Rodrigo Lopez in his own third didn't come during a replay -- it was a square ball he played to someone outside of the frame during live play.
A statement before I make the point I actually came here to make: I really like ESPN+. Their coverage of the U.S. Open Cup last year was phenomenal and it's amazing that we can get live streams of the USL, MLS, the FA Cup, Serie A, and many other leagues right on our laptops for like $5 a month.
Coupled with access to the complete 30 For 30 archives, ESPN+ is a huge steal in a world in which you need to subscribe to three-to-four different streaming platforms just to keep up with soccer.
But holy shit, out of all of their directors/producers/whoever is in charge of choosing the shots for soccer games, none of them know what soccer fans actually want.
I wrote about this a few years ago in a newspaper column and wanted to interview one of my friends, who works for MLS, for the article. He told me he got in trouble from the league for publicly criticizing the broadcast too much and didn't want to talk. Cool.
This second image isn't as bad, but it's still pretty horrible. Why are we doing this to our broadcasts? There's a certain amount of context provided with the images we see on our TVs (or laptops) when given the Camera 1 angle.
Not only can you see each team's shape better, but you can watch off-the-ball movement as well and get a better understanding for what both teams are trying to do. There was a moment in yesterday's game in which Rodrigo Lopez played a ridiculous 70-yard switch onto the foot of winger Sam Werner...I think.
I say "I think" because all we got was a close-up of Lopez playing the ball and then the camera angle switched to Werner right after his first touch.
Don't get me wrong, close-ups can be great -- they're important for replays of hard tackles, replays of great individual bits of skill, or replays of goal-line interactions.
They're great...for replays...only replays. I don't understand why those who get paid to broadcast these games don't understand this. With your other cameras, it's not like if you don''t use them, you lose them.
But even if they did, I think it would be fine because a broadcast that only has one camera angle is vastly superior to one that has multiple angles and uses those angles during live play.
This isn't hard to figure out.