Altitude Sports Network and Kroenke Sports Entertainment should be applauded for offering all Avalanche home games in High Definition and for carrying as many road games as possible (even if they must be shown on Altitude 2). Since I can't afford to attend many home games, I greatly appreciate being able to watch them at home without suffering a lame blackout policy that other markets enforce. Watching games in High Def is quickly becoming more of a necessity, too.
Nevertheless, there are several things that annoy me when I watch games on Altitude. Here are some ways I think ASN could improve the home-viewing fan's experience.
1. Lose unnecessary on-screen graphics. I know broadcasts are a commercial venture, paid for by advertising revenue. But who thought I would be more likely to purchase goods and services based on putting ads in front of the very programming I'm trying to watch? Even on my HDTV, there's precious little screen real estate for watching the action, and these ads usually cover up some crucial play along the boards.
Close behind are the graphics that display the current statistics being discussed by the commenters. It's bad enough when the stats are relevant, worse when they are stretching to make an obscure point, and criminal when they're covering up the game itself!
Speaking of commericals...
2. Don't repeat the same commercials. We're fortunate that we only have to endure the sponsors' messages at TV timeouts, intermissions, and the occasional fortuitous break in the action. So why do we have to watch the same commercials practically every break? Even if the message is humorous or catchy, I really do not need to see it more than once. If I see those two meeting-avoiding yahoos one more time before I can hit the mute button, I'll probably lose my mind.
Surely something can be done to improve these areas without impacting ad revenue. But there's one area that needs drastic improvement, and that is...
3. Revamp the play-by-play and color commentary. Mike Haynes and Peter McNab may be two of the nicest guys you'd ever hope to meet, but their act is starting to wear on me. In recent games I've noticed that McNab's "color" commentary runs on far too long and keeps Haynes from calling the game. I wish McNab could express his thoughts more clearly and succinctly, and I wish he wouldn't try so hard to find some interesting "insider" tidbit to share. I wonder if Peter McNab has ever met any player, coach, trainer, journalist or zamboni driver who isn't "one of the nicest guys in hockey."
I understand that Haynes and McNab work for the hometown broadcast corporation and that is obviously going to bias their comments. But I think their broadcasts would be much improved if KSE let them be more critical of the team and its personnel when it's warranted. Most die-hard fans see right through the sunshine and rainbows, and the broadcast team is missing an opportunity to educate the casual fans. I recall watching a game on NHL GameCenter Live - probably a Candian team - and the commenters weren't cutting their team any slack in the broadcast. It was refreshing to hear, and made watching the game more interesting.
In the current economic climate, many fans like me are still following and supporting our favorite team on television. If ASN and KSE changed some or all of these issues it would demonstrate that they value me as a fan and potential consumer.