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Thursday, November 13, 2008

Catching up on the world of sports TV graphics design

Various notes from the world of sports graphics while I was busy dabbling in politics:
  • It looks like I wasn't the only one who didn't like the new ESPN College Football graphic, because in recent weeks ESPN has gotten rid of the hideous bar, and replaced it with an almost-invisible parallelogram on top of the main strip to contain the same information. (Fast-forward past the promos to about a minute in.) The old strip with bar was in place on Tuesday, but that's a special "Interactive Tuesday" gimmick.
  • During the World Series, Fox was positively schitzophrenic about its graphics. For the NLCS, it used the same approach it used in the Super Bowl: the strip contained the regular "MLB on FOX" logo on the left side, with an "NLCS FOX" logo only when the strip wasn't there, as on replays. On the right side, where other scores are often displayed during the regular season, it showed the MLB logo, then "NLCS", then "FOX". For the World Series, it started out keeping this layout, replacing "NLCS" with "World Series" wherever it appeared. But in Game 3 the "FOX" became "2008", apparently feeling the two "FOX"-es were redundant. And in Games 4 and 5 the boys at Fox cleared up a glaring omission by getting rid of the whole thing on the right side of the banner, replacing it with a notification of the team leading the series and by how much, with the "World Series FOX" logo now remaining on the left side of the banner. To varying extents you can see all three at various points of this video:
  • It's NBA season, it's time for new graphics! First, Canada's The Score has a centralized score box similar to what ESPN had for Monday Night Football:

    Okay, enough frivolousness. FSN's new score display for basketball is a bit surprising: it's a full-on return to the lower-right box! We had thought TNT was the last holdout! Where was this for hockey?

    Stop this video early on for a peek at the statistics display and see if you can spot the differences from college football... and the places of TNT influence.

    The only videos of NBA TV action I could find are way too poor quality to make out the bottom line on their graphics, but there is a clear FSN influence.
  • Speaking of TNT, I don't think they thought out their new NBA graphic very well. It's painfully obvious that "NBA" doesn't fit well inside a "capsule", and the box - which includes an indication of the team in the lead - feels like a bunch of people threw out ideas in a meeting and they just picked whatever ones sounded best. The treatment of the quarter and time on a single line in a single element is praiseworthy, but little else. Methinks they could have taken more cues from the TBS baseball coverage, which itself was originally heavily influenced by the last NBA on TNT graphics package (I honestly expected TNT to go the banner route).

    By the way, you should see TNT's full statistics display, as it is positively hideous. I haven't found a rendering of it in video yet, but trust me, it definitely could use improvement to understate tremendously. There's a reason most networks don't put first and last names on separate lines. If ESPN could change its graphics package midseason for college football, I wouldn't be surprised to see TNT do the same, and I would look for TNT to potentially make another graphics change next season at the latest.

1 comment:

alyysa said...
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