Saturday, 7 June 2008

Schedule A: Euro 2008 - **Live Blog**

And here it is. For those who don't remember our coverage of the 2006 World Cup, this is where we view the coverage from different broadcasters, and allocate (and subtract) points according to how good or bad their coverage is. Last time around, ESPN India nicked the prize at the last moment, thanks to the marvellous Duniya Goal Hai preview show (which was as funny as Soccer AM thinks it is), while the stupidly named UKTVG2 had the worst coverage. Exactly the same as what was on BBC One at the same time, only with much worse punditry, presentation and with tons of adverts, thereby making it the most pointless waste of money since Juan Sebastien Veron.

We don't think Duniya Goal Hai is still going, and UKTVG2 certainly isn't (having become the even more stupidly named, if quite entertaining to watch, Dave), meaning that both prizes are up for grabs. In addition to just the BBC and ITV, we're going to check out the coverage of any global broadcasters we can find streaming coverage of. Well, otherwise it'd be a bit pointless. Unlike what we're... oh.

And with the seeds of doubt sprouting in our subconscious, we'd better get on.


A good start for the Beeb. Martin O'Neill self-effacedly disagreeing with the other pundits. Some very nice on-screen presentation (which might well be from the host broadcaster, but we shall see). Wee Gordon Strachan is there, too. Even the video montage of previous tournaments didn't bother mentioning England, other than that is was hosting the gig in 1996. The only negative was the annoying Liverpudlian child in the vox pop about who everyone is going to support. A promising start, all in.

Nicely, the opening ceremony is being covered in full (we don't think they'd bothered with it in 2006, preferring to bang on about Rooney's injury or something), with Motty commentating on the action in his own increasingly befuddled manner. Even Mark Bright is on co-commentator duties instead of Comedy Lawro. It's a promising opening to the coverage, even if that title sequence wasn't quite as good as we'd thought it would be.

[BBC Sport +1 Point]

Meanwhile, over to Denmark's "Danish Delight" channel (according to the description on, though it looks like TV2 on the ident), and they're doing much the same, although quite obviously we can't understand a word. They will be getting a bonus point if Jan Molby is a pundit.


Motty has just said Jan Koller can "look down Frei's record quite literally". Well, he could literally look down on Alexander Frei's copy of Now That's What I Call Music 9, so technically that's correct in a way, but still.

[BBC Sport -1 Point]


TV2 Sporten (which is what it actually seems to be called) has Coke-sponsored break bumpers involving a football fan in a bar. His team scores a goal, and so he is about to hug the bloke standing next to him. As he turns around, he notices that the bloke next to him is COVERED IN BEES. After a momentary pause, he decides to hug him anyway. Cut to Coke logo. W the F?

The rest of the ad break confirms these early suspicions that Danish advertising is mental. It's a pity TVU Player won't work for screengrabs.

[TV2 Sporten +1 Point]

Wee Gordon and Ray Stubbs are standing right next to the touchline on the pitch for their analysis. Why they're doing this, we don't know. It's only the fact that Gordon has eschewed the suit expected of BBC pundits in favour of a black leather jacket, and that BBC Sport haven't made them use a stupid little plastic table (as seen on ITV Sport) that save us from deducting any points.

Meanwhile, TV2 News are still using the classic "we don't have any cameras at the scene, just a reporter, so here's a map with a bit coloured in, and a photo of the reporter who is on the phone" technique. Excellent.

[TV2 Sporten +1 Point. It would have been +3 if the photo had been of the reporter pretending to be on the phone.]

And so, as we ruminate on how glad we are we hadn't back Alex Frei for top goalscorer after his adds plummeted from 125/1 to 50/1, we rejoin the second half.


Here's something that we've always wondered about football coverage during tournaments. When the score update appears at the bottom of the screen occasionally (which is a bit pointless considering every broadcaster keeps the score and time on-screen at all times now anyway), it generally includes a company logo. In the case of Euro 2008, it's Canon. This has gone on since, what, the 1970s, and would generally involve the name of a company you'd expect to have something to do with timekeeping, such as Timex.

The implication of this is that Canon, or Timex, or whoever, are acting as official timekeepers for the host broadcaster. The tasks involved may or may not involve keeping track of the score as well. Surely UEFA would sooner try and keep track of that one themselves. If the representative from Canon is in charge of recording the score and scorers at a World Cup, maybe he'd decide that a controversially disallowed goal by Japan should stand after all. If he's lucky, his lie would become the accepted truth, like how Michael Moore claims Fox News' reporting George Walker Bush as confirmed winner of the 2000 US election just after polling day directly led to him becoming president (and nothing to do with Judge Scalia after all, then). And thereby lining up against Poland in the quarter finals or have carte blanche to start an illegal war on Iraq (yes, we're all about the contemporary satire).

But anyway, that might have had some sort of use in the 1970s. Everyone had badly designed novelty-shaped clocks on their walls (all rectangular and brown, with huge hands), so seeing a digital representation of the time had a real purpose. But now, in Space Year 2008, everyone has digital watches, iPhones, internet-powered time on their laptops, and hey, watches. Can't the logo just be something along the lines of "time by: Bob the sound guy's mobile phone"?

Oh, the Czechs have scored.

Turkey vs Portugal

"No need for hype, here", claims ITV Sport's Matt Smith, just before they go on to spend ten minutes hyping everything up as much as they can be bothered. As TV Cream pointed out, ITV's punditry team are operating from their studio in London, not bothering with the trip to Austria. On the one hand, this shows how little they care about the tournament. They haven't even got Steve Rider in to present their first match of the tournament, which is quite telling. He was busy presenting ITV1's big Switzerland-Czech Republic ratings beater, erm... the qualifying for the Canadian Grand Prix, in weekend prime time on one of Britain's biggest two channels.

On the other hand, does it really matter about the surroundings of the people who pop up for ten minutes before kick-off? Going by what we're seeing of other nation's coverage, most broadcasters don't even bother with that. We do strongly suspect it's part of the fact ITV are losing interest in this sort of thing now they've got the Premiership highlights and FA Cup packages back, and that as soon as their deal with UEFA expires, the European Championships could well be shared by BBC and Five. You read it here first.

Gary Neville and Andy Townsend on punditry duties, which isn't quite as good as Hansen, O'Neill and Strachan, but at least Sky's absence in the event means we won't have to put up with the 'opinions' of Jamie Redknapp. We're still docking them a point, because we can't stand Gary Neville.

[ITV Sport -1 point]

Oh, and if you actually are reading this live (and we really doubt anyone is), we're on a half-hour delay because Doctor Who was too exiting to miss the second half of. So now we're going to get crazy with our Topfield's 'skip forward' function.


We're all caught up now. Nice to see that ITV1's No Hype Zone doesn't exclude them mentioning Cristiano Ronaldo every twenty flipping seconds, whether he's near the ball or not.


Anyone who'd prefer to see what the Brazilian (we think) coverage of the match is like:

Here you go. Or, if you want to see it moving, visit here. It should be worth it for the adverts, at least.


It's almost half past eight, and so displaying the level of professionalism you'd expect from BrokenTV, we're going out, so we'll leave the coverage here for today. Hey, it's Saturday. One quick update for the alternate schedule, and we'll be away. Oh, and an update to the league table first.

The BrokenTV World Cup Of Euro 2008 Coverage League Table, 7.6.08

TV2 Sporten (Denmark) (2 pts)
2. BBC Sport (0)
3. ITV Sport (-1)

5 .:

Jason said...

You probably can't get Sweden's TV4, who are doing the coverage over here - but it's very much up to ITV levels of class and quality.

Their live 'studio' programme is hosted on an outdoor pod/stage in Kungsträdgården gardens in central Stockholm (not, it must be said, anywhere near Austria or Switzerland at all, unless someone made the classic Swiss/Swedish howler). All the links and analysis comes from here.

What a great idea, you say. What a great way to capitalise on the summer. Yes, it would be a great idea if there wasn't also the largest screen in Sweden showing all the games, located in the gardens and attracting any number of fans to the many bars. Who then turn up rip roaring drunk while the live bits are being presented and try and get on stage (several have already succeeded, and there's only been two matches), get chants belittling local clubs onto the air and generally make an arse of themselves.

Who would have seen THAT coming?

Steve Williams said...

Why is it that many foreign channels seem to now put scorelines in the middle of the picture? I seem to remember a Scotland match, possibly, with one of these recently and it was bloody irritating.

I guess the idea is that in the corner it has to move along to be 4:3 safe, but surely it's a better idea than this rank affair?

Mark X said...

Jason - I've been keeping an eye out for Swedish coverage on MyP2P, but it only seems to be on Sopcast which is a Socks-based nuisance to get working. That TV4 coverage sounds worth it for comedy value, if nothing else. I shall persevere, but that idea may since have been abandoned along with ITV1's "visit foreign fans in a pub" idea.

SteveW - I suspect it could be down to the host broadcaster putting it there, where it's not going to clash with anyone's on-screen ident. It is pretty distracting, but still not quite as bad as Sky Sport's hastily abandoned idea of putting the live score in the bottom-left corner of the screen, which might have made sense in theory (it's less likely to get in the way of action there, perhaps), but it just looked awful.

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