Live sport. There’s nothing like it on TV these days… Think about it, other than the news, what else isn’t just the same on catch-up?
You can try and prolong the suspense – lock yourself away in a padded room or lose your mobile phone for a few hours – but watching as the drama unfolds is really the only way to go with live sport.
If you’re happy to catch up later, there are highlights of course, which are handy because they only show you the best bits. And then there’s radio.
If you can’t see the action anywhere – you’re in the car, at work, don’t have the TV subscription you need – live audio is king, which is why so many sports are taking matters into their own hands when it comes to this.
When I was involved with World Rugby we took the decision to use the TuneIn app to live stream the audio of the TV commentary from the HSBC Sevens World Series, as a dedicated online radio channel. It was a relatively easy decision because sevens is so non-stop – the commentators seldom stop talking – but it can be tougher, and costlier, with other sports.
Imagine, for example, listening on the radio to the TV commentary of a clay court slug fest at the French Open. You could go 40 or 50 shots with radio silence, other than the sound of the ball being hit. It wouldn’t make for great radio, which is why the ATP’s recent decision to man a fully dedicated live ATP Tennis Radio with 24/7 channel and accompanying podcast is such a strong, bold move.
With dedicated commentators, pundits and reporters, it’s a major commitment in many ways and I’m extremely proud to have been involved from day one.