CHRIS KIRWAN SAYS: BT's innovation unlikely to prompt gems
9:02am Thursday 5th September 2013 in Sport
THE phrase 'less is more' is unlikely to be in the lexicon of television chiefs.
BT Sport has spent big to snare the rights to the Aviva Premiership from Sky Sports and last week announced a series of "ground-breaking new innovations".
They trumpeted "a new television strategy, with the objective of bringing fans closer to the game", ignoring the fact that it's only from the terraces and the stands that you get a real taste of the intensity of pro rugby.
Among their initiatives are cameras in changing rooms, pre-match interviews with players on the pitch, in-match interrogation of coaches, half-time talks as the players head off and footage shot from the kicking tee.
There's nothing wrong with BT's ambition to drive coverage forward with innovation, just like Sky have with their excellent coverage of rugby and football, just like Channel 4 did when they took over Test cricket.
Unfortunately what sounds good over a latte in a brainstorming session in an Olympic Park conference room is unlikely to bear fruit at a cold, wet Kingsholm when a polystyrene cup of Bovril is being clasped.
I'm not expecting viewers to be treated with incisive thoughts or humorous quips from players taking a break from smashing the tackle bags.
"We need to set the tone early, front up and build a score," will say a lumbering forward before trotting off to practice a lineout.
Nor will the coaches offer pearls of wisdom during the game; we've already seen that with coverage of the Welsh regions on BBC Wales and S4C.
"Well, Dot/Phil (delete as appropriate), we've got to maintain our discipline, play in the right areas and take the points when they come," says a coach desperately trying not to swear on live television.
Nor will those that delay their trip to the kitchen or bathroom be rewarded with gems as the stars head to the changing rooms; the southern hemisphere has already treated us to breathless captains mumbling short answers to closed questions throughout the Super Rugby campaign.
This, of course, is not the fault of the players, who cannot be expected to turn their focus from smashing a ruck to cracking a pithy one-liner.
Still, maybe such tedium is a price worth paying to avoid too much screen time being devoted to Lawrence Dallaglio...
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