Letter to Tottenham Hotspur FC regarding televised matches on ITV

by Teekosey

Maybe its because i’m getting on (30–>31) maybe its just because my eyesight seems to be getting worse, but i really struggled with ITV’s coverage of Tottenham Hotspur in the UEFA Europa League last season (from a visual point of view..). I wrote about it in a previous post where i emailed the broadcaster, you can read that entry here.

Email to ITV

The games get broadcasted worldwide. So in theory there are millions of people watching these games.  So lets get it right.  It’s simple.  If Spurs cling on to Gareth Bale, there will be high viewing figures for their games regardless of opposition.  For that reason alone i believe they would be, to quote Gary Strang ‘madder than Brain Mad of Madcastle’,  to continue with the current set up. However  lets be honest they wont change.  The big boys never listen to the people.  I can’t be the only one who refuses to put up with this.  People??

Please follow me on twitter @teekoseyart for my illustrations and read through my letters on this blog.  I am sure there are a number of letters that will interest most people.  Im sure of it, just click below for a full round of the letters

Letters

As a introduction to the letter ill show you the pictures  of the different screens.

lydn

ITV’s Coverage

azup

Sky TV’s Coverage

THE LETTER

Tottenham Hotspur Football Club
Bill Nicholson Way
748 High Road
Tottenham
London
N17 0AP

19 June 2013

Dear Sirs,

I am writing with reference to the television coverage of Tottenham Hotspur Football Club on ITV. Over the previous seasons the television network has televised games in the UEFA Champions League and UEFA Europa League principally on channels ITV1 and ITV4.

The reason for my letter is that in my opinion the coverage is particularly poor. The reason for this opinion is the viewpoint by which the viewers are provided i.e the camera angle and location. The viewing position we are given is a low level, at the half way line and very close to pitch. Effectively the view is what it would be like to stand about ten yards into the pitch at the half way line. This presents a number of irregularities. Firstly and most importantly, due to the close proximity, the camera has to pan across at speed when the action moves quickly across the pitch from one end to the other. This results in a loss of focus for the camera and the human eye. This is such an uncomfortable experience that I was forced to abandon watching a game on two separate occasions due to migraines. In addition to the key issue, the position does not allow the viewer to experience the build up in play, it is almost like tunnel vision. Imagine if boxing coverage only showed from the neck up, you would miss half of what’s happening.

The strange situation is that matches are only presented in this fashion in ITV’s coverage. BBC, Sky TV etc. show a different viewpoint. With the camera in a much higher position that is stepped back. This provides a much more enjoyable experience to the viewer. It may not be ideal but is significantly better than the lower position. See enclosed screen grabs of the difference in views. So the big question is why are ITV presenting the games from this viewing position?

I gave up watching the Lyon game after 30 minutes and went to bed to rest my eyes, but before doing so I contacted ITV to enquire about the poor presentation. The following day I received a response from Paul McNamara who is the ‘Match Director’ at ITV. He apologised for my dissatisfaction but advised that the reason for the viewing position was down to a personal preference of his, given the choice of two gantries to film from. You only have to do a quick Google search to see a plethora of people complaining about ITV’s Spurs coverage so it its incredulous that it would boil down to one person’s personal preference.

The next game came around and nothing had changed, not that I expected it to have. But sometimes I guess you think that complaints are considered. I was sitting in a bar in Paris watching the game vs. Internazionale but again i gave up after 15 minutes to avoid spoiling my evening. I have since spent some time canvassing the web for the complaints of others and the true reason for this issue. It would be interesting to compare the viewing figures of the games, how many turn over along with direct number of complaints to the club and network in comparison with other clubs in the tournament covered by the network. You may have this information and can therefore make your own conclusions. There appears to be a number of hypotheses, which include the following.

· ITV wanting to be different (unlikely).
· A cost differential for ITV between the low and high gantries
· The clear viewing of advertising boards
· UEFA’s choice/requirement
· 3D Recording

These are a number of possible reasons for the difference in coverage, but all are of insufficient reasons to make a decision to radically reduce the quality of the overall presentation. I would assume that if the true reason is any of the above you would not disclose the information or merely agree with Mr McNamara’s statement. So the important thing from my point of view and others who watch the games on TV is, will you be able/prepared to do anything about it? Tottenham Hotspur have qualified for the Europa League in the forthcoming season, so in all probability you will have something like 5 to 8 home games screened by the network.

As an avid viewer of the games I think it is time the issue is addressed and a credible solution be provided in advance the up and coming 2013-14 season. It would be a real shame if the club continued to allow such a poor presentation that is globally disproved of to continue. I hope the club would put the fans first in this instance showing strong principles instead of the need for increased revenue, but I fear this letter will fall on deaf ears and all Tottenham games on ITV will have to be avoided in future.

Yours

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