Whenever we watch a sports match, there is bound to be experts during break to analyze the game. Usually for every match there is a presenter and three experts who are mostly ex-players or ex-managers. Regardless of how interested or uninterested we are in pundits, we often end up listening to them during break, when we are sitting on a chair looking at our smartphones or getting out of our seats to bring more chips and drinks. During that time when we listen to those experts on television, we also have our own opinions regarding not just the match, but also the quality of the pundits. As with the sports pundits, I am going to talk about pundits in soccer that divide opinions of many.
When I watch soccer on television in the United States, only Fox Sports, NBCSN, and occasionally ESPN show soccer, particularly the English Premier League, Bundesliga, and UEFA Champions League, and in summer they show, international competitions like the World Cup. Of these three channels, I am going to primarily talk about Fox Sports because whenever people try to watch on TV or stream matches on Reddit, I always see loads of people on various websites commenting how terrible the punditry is for Fox Sports.
A significant problem that many people repeatedly comment about is that Fox Sports simply does not care. Fox Sports has rights to the Bundesliga and Champions League, but I always see someone like Eric Wynalda, Stuart Holden or Alexi Lalas, who are retired American players who barely played or did not play at all in the Bundesliga and/or Champions League. Whenever I see a critic or an analyst, I usually think the idea of, ‘People who tried steak before knows how to cook steak better than people who never cooked it before.’ This exactly applies to analysts in Fox Sports, as they have no clue what they are talking about and even talk about what this certain player is doing, even though he is not even playing on that match. Since these “pundits” are Americans, they also talk about how good the American players are, regardless of whether they are playing or they will play in the later matches. For example, they talk for 2 minutes and 30 seconds about Christian Pulisic, a young player for Borussia Dortmund, during a match where Borussia Dortmund is not playing. As someone who is not an American citizen, do I have anything against Americans being biased towards American players? Of course not because every country’s pundits have this bias, but when they constantly talk about those American players, it can get incredibly annoying to listen to, as if it is like an endurance test. Fox Sports cannot be bothered to hire someone who has vast experience in the Bundesliga and/or Champions League to give some insights.
However, this is not the icing on top of the cake. Almost a year ago, Fox Sports faked announcers being at Champions League games. Almost always when you cover a match, around two analysts are actually in the stadium to analyze; however, Fox Sports decided to put a green screen behind the pundits to make the audience think that they are in the stadium. This was hit with backlashes from social media especially on Reddit:
One user named kpm67 commented, “That’s absolutely ridiculous but for some reason I’m not surprised. It just seems like something Fox would do.” and another user named mobilehavoc replied with, “FakeCommentating” with bold and enlarged text. Another user SamX17 commented, “FOX fools everyone.” There are other comments with curse words regarding how terrible this is and some even wished its counterpart NBC, who has rights to the Premier League, to have rights for the Champions League as NBCSN is rather tolerable or maybe even good. I even saw comments in other posts that some users would rather stream matches from European channels like BT Sports or from foreign channels with incomprehensible words than watch Fox Sports for the Bundesliga or Champions League.
Do I have a personal grudge against Fox? No. Do I have a preference to NBC? No. Do I have a personal grudge against the United States of America? No. This is not anything political. This is simply my point how people, including me, critique pundits on the internet like how people critique everything else. We are not in a period where we only say our opinions in front of our TV, but rather we are in a period where we can criticize from anywhere and any time. In the future, I certainly do not hope to stream matches on Reddit that lag every second just to avoid terrible punditry on Fox Sports.