Punditry Will Eat Itself: ESPN’s New ‘Augmented Reality’ Analysis Is Completely Absurd

Alan Duffy

18th, October 2011


By Alan Duffy

Ray Stubbs suits up for the EPSN post-match analysis

Sports analysis in this country is rapidly catching up with its American counterparts. Statistics, graphics and animations are all the rage, and while, for the most part, they do add a new and interesting angle to post-match analysis (OPTA are particularly superb), sometimes things go a bit too far.

Take ESPN’s “augmented reality” post-match feature at the “ESPN Arena”. With a digital football pitch appearing in front of the pundits, the various experts can fiddle about with the players and make them run about. But is it really helping our understanding of the game?

Indeed, in the featured video below, Ray Stubbs, Kevin Keegan and Craig Burley awkwardly hover around the ‘ESPN Arena’ like three men standing over an open coffin at a funeral, hands clasped in front of them and nervously shuffling.

Burley must have won a pre-broadcast game of paper, rock, scissors, as he gets to press the button on the digital thingy, but it’s all a bit unnecessary.

And check out this run-through (without sound unfortunately) of the technology by Burley and Keegan before the game. In order to highlight an individual player (in this case Juan Mata), Burley flicks him off the digital pitch. Is a Subbuteo-style flick really needed?

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  1. Elliott says:

    I’ve always hated the announcer-in-suit does a shitty impersonation of what pro athletes do – but this takes the cake!

  2. MaxMad says:

    It could turn out to be a fantastic game, but using it as a commentary piece is half useless.

    But the flick is mighty fancy.

  3. scotspur says:

    @maxmad yeah imagine FIFA14 being played on this. or getting to watch a game live, you and your mates gather around the table watching them run around

  4. Ron says:

    I haven’t seen this, but as an American I can say one of the top reasons I have stopped watching major U.S. sports such as football and basketball is because of the shit-storm of ridiculous analysis. Shut the fuck up already. Just show the games, then show more game.

    I hate espn, hate the scrolling bottom line, which I put a piece of tape over to shut out when I watch Champs League games.

    Soccer & ice hockey are about the only sports I watch these days. So nice to have 45 minutes of uninterrupted play. Goddamn, U.S. football is a fucking nightmare. More commercials than play, plus big fat dudes crashing into each other repeatedly. What a stupid game.

  5. says:

    the only thing espn does right in terms of footie is their announcer and commentator. i hate fox news with an undying passion. but fox soccer, and fox soccer plus are beautiful, all the way around.

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