Let me start with an admission: I watch Match of the Day (MotD) almost every Saturday night during the football season. It is an institution in my life as it is for a great many other people in this country. I’ve watched Match of the Day for as long as I can remember and even recollect the Friday night live games that were aired in the 1980s. That said, the show and its presenters are simply not delivering to an acceptable standard one would expect in 2012.
If like I am, you are a cricket fan, you will appreciate the gulf in quality of the analysis offered to viewers of coverage of Test Match cricket compared to what we were subjected to on Saturday night. Where cricket coverage might deliver examples and stories from former players mixed with analysis via footage coupled with computer technology and informative graphics, MotD seems wedded to uninteresting banter devoid of any analysis to inform the viewer.
Why have a panel of ex and current players if they don’t tell you something you know already? They don’t have to be slick in their presentation but consistently provide new and insightful information to the viewer undermines what MotD should be all about in the 21st century. Any football fan can access live or recorded action, commentary and reports of matches from a plethora or sources which means MotD needs to raise its game.
In a world where there is tremendous digital and computer technology to assist us all in the simplest of tasks why is more not made of this by the MotD team? Most websites now use streaming media, brilliant photography and infographics to entertain and inform but MotD seems to have been left in the analogue era. Gary Lineker himself took to Twitter earlier this week to defend MotD – that’s good communication by the way – but relied on an argument that him and the panel only have roughly 2 minutes to spend on each game they show. If that is the case then clever use of graphics and statistics to illustrate the point being made will make analysis easier to produce and communicate to the viewer. It will also make far more compelling television.
Football, indeed all major sports, is now inhabited by number crunchers and stats men to reduce uncertainty in the game and increase the probability of success. Why can’t those of us who tune in to Match of the Day every Saturday get real analysis based on facts? Unfortunately instead we get bad shirts, worse haircuts and matey banter in its place which is why Gary Lineker and the Match of the Day team are my Mis-Communicators of the Week.