If you follow Sportscaster Life on Twitter, you may have noticed on Friday afternoon we sent out a tweet for followers to offer up topics for a future blog post. Joseph Matthew Orozco (@JochaDay) suggested talking about the worst sportscasting booth setups.
It’s a great topic, we’ve all had to call some games in a couple of weird venues. Whether a rickity table or a cramped booth or perhaps technical limitations…we’ve all had to “make it work” under less than ideal circumstances.
I wanted to take a look at my own career which has taken me all across western Canada and down into Washington state with hockey, soccer and baseball teams. I’ve been very lucky and haven’t had too many bombs to deal with, but one is very clearly the worst sportscasting booth as it hits many of the criteria I mentioned above.
The Nicola Valley Memorial Arena in Merritt, British Columbia is the long time home of the BCHL’s Merritt Centennials. It’s an extremely small and old building that apparently seats 1000, but I feel that number is extremely generous.
The visiting broadcast booth is in an interesting location, buried deep in one of the offensive zones. That means you’re nowhere near centre and constantly have players skating towards you, making it more difficult to pick up jersey numbers.
If the location wasn’t challenging enough, the row of heaters up the difficulty level by placing a large visible obstacle between you and the ice. Over the years I’ve missed goal scorers because a pass was put into ‘the void’.
While all of these things make the ‘Nic’ a challenging place to call a game, what makes it my worst sportscasting booth are these challenges plus some technical hurdles. The internet is often spotty, connections to the PPV video feed have been troublesome and (at least on my last visit) the desk they have in the small attic-like room was ready to fall apart a few years ago.
That being said, there’s a certain charm about the Nic as its one of the more unique venues in the league. It’s cold, it’s small and things happen extremely quickly…but a challenging venue can often make you a better broadcaster.
The key to dealing with your worst sportscasting booth is to try and turn a negative into a positive. Look to overcome the challenges and up your game to churn out a quality broadcast despite all the difficulties you face.
What’s been your worst sportscasting booth setup? Let us know on Facebook, Twitter or in the comments below.