Well the first ever game for the Blue Jays on Facebook is in the books and I have to admit, although it was somewhat different than what I’m used to watching, it by no means was a disappointing viewing experience.
Usually when it comes to change of any kind, my initial reaction is to be against it (I’m a creature of habit and possibly a little stubborn). When it was announced that Facebook had purchased the exclusive rights to stream 20 MLB games, I wasn’t too sure what to make of it. I was, like a lot of fans, caught off guard by the whole idea of baseball and Facebook. For the longest time now I’ve been watching the Blue Jays on Sportsnet. Now all of a sudden I have to watch them (at least for one game) on a website where I normally go to wish friends happy birthday and look at photos of my baby nephew.
As different as it was watching the Blue Jays on Facebook, a lot of what they did with this stream/broadcast was done quite well and deserves to be acknowledged. They brought a new and fresh way to enjoy a ball game. The discussion in the booth between Scott Braun (MLB Network), Jeremy Guthrie, and Cliff Floyd was like three buddies on a couch talking about baseball and life. For some, this sort of thing might not be your cup of tea. It’s a different approach compared to a typical Blue Jays broadcast that focuses so much more on every little detail happening in the game. Not that there’s anything terribly wrong with the traditional Sportsnet broadcast, its just that it can get a little dry at times.
What Facebook confirmed yesterday, at least for me, is that it doesn’t hurt to have more of a balance between talking about the boring little repetitive in-game details and sharing random stories that may not even have anything to do with what’s happening on the field.
A few things I didn’t particularly like about the Facebook broadcast was how much interaction the announcers were trying to drum-up with the audience. I can understand posing 2-3 questions to viewers each game, but it seemed like every single inning they were asking a different question to the viewers.
Major League Baseball has said it needs to work harder to engage a younger audience. They seem to feel that not enough younger people are watching baseball on account of them not having the attention span to sit through what can be a slow sport. Facebook’s broadcast and its emphasis on fan interaction will certainly help create interest with a younger audience. The only problem with that approach, is that a good number of fans will prefer the classic-style broadcast that focuses more on actually watching the game, rather than interacting with the audience.
Anyway, how do you prefer to watch Blue Jays baseball when you don’t have the luxury of watching in person? Are you more of a traditionalist and prefer watching on Sportsnet…or are you tired of the same boring old broadcast and would rather watch on Facebook…or would you like to see a combination of the best that both the Sportsnet and Facebook broadcasts have to offer?