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April 16, 2014

The Five: Best sports to watch on TV

by Bob Sassone, posted Jul 27th 2006 9:00AM

MLB logo1. Baseball: This sport was really made for television. It's slower than other team sports, perfect for those warm summer nights, a cold drink in your hand, maybe a breeze coming in the window as you watch. And unlike other team sports, the pace gives the viewer time to figure out their own strategies for the game (hockey and basketball are too fast, and football has too many players doing too many things at once for the average Joe).

2. Tennis: I think I'd rather watch tennis on TV than in person, because you have the best seat in the house (sure, that's true for most sports, probably, but the camera angles and replays really make tennis enjoyable to watch on TV). It helps that I love playing tennis myself. I hate summer, but the two weeks in late August/early September that USA shows the U.S. Open all day and all night is one of the happiest times of the year for me. I need a girlfriend.

3. Poker: Purists might not call poker a "sport," but there's no denying it's entertainment value. It has gambling, the neon of Vegas, big money, and that sense that anyone can win, even the guy sitting on his couch at home or playing on the web. Even if you aren't completely involved in the game itslelf, poker has a lot of characters and personalities to love or hate. Pick a player you like for some reason, and root for them (or pick a player you hate and get all giddy when they lose). And a big kudos to whoever invented the hole cam to see what the players have.

4. Football: I'm not even a big football fan (put it this way, if the Patriots weren't so good I wouldn't even watch, and I actually liked Dennis Miller on Monday Night Football, that's the type of football fan I am), but there's no question that television does football well.

5. Hockey: To be honest, I really didn't know what to put here, and hockey seems a safe bet, even if the Bruins haven't done anything in years.

Tomorrow: the worst sports to watch on television.

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Liz Newcomb

Brent, I have to say I agree with your comments about hockey on TV. As an American living in Canada - and now a huge hockey fan - I can say that for me, I never enjoyed the game because I didn't understand the rules. It took moving here and having my Canadian husband explain them to me while watching games for me to really appreciate it. Yes, I lose track of the puck from time to time, and yes, I would much rather go to the games in person, but season tickets are out of our price range so I'm very happy for "Hockey Night in Canada."

July 27 2006 at 11:37 PM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply
Booker Hawes

I think the best five sports to watch in HD are.

1a. Pro Football or college Football
1b. Pro Baskestball (NBA) 0r college Basketball
3. Pro Baseball or college Baseball
4. World Cup Soccer or Euro Soccer
5a. Nascar
5b Golf only when tiger is in contention.

July 27 2006 at 8:28 PM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply
e

golf maybe a boring sport to watch..however when it's in hd its unbeleivable. watching the ball flights and contours of the course help people get a perspective of how truly good these pros are and how hard the courses can get. for people who say that golf shouldn't be a sport..try and play it well.

July 27 2006 at 8:15 PM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply
Brent McKee

Maybe it's because I'm a Canadian but I have never understood why Americans don't like Hockey on TV. You hear all this crap about the puck being hard to follow and as I say I just don't get it - it's a piece of black rubber on a sheet of white ice. How is that hard to follow? I have literally been watching Hockey on TV all my life. Maybe the rule should be that Hockey for TV should be shot, produced, announced and packaged for the US market by people who know the game - Canadians. You could start by putting "Hockey Night In Canada" on NBC on Saturdays - it's not like they've got anything better on that night.

Oh and speaking of Poker players you love to hate - Phil Hellmuth won his 10th World Series of Poker bracelet a couple of days ago. He'll be insufferable until Doyle Brunson or Johnny Chan win their 11th.

July 27 2006 at 4:07 PM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply
doc

I'd agree with many of the commenters about hockey. It is a terrible sport on television. I think that may be part of what keeps it from ever truly living up to that '4th major sport' moniker so many want to hang on it. I think there are a lot of other sports that I would have considered long before hockey.

NASCAR, and auto racing in general, lends itself to television well. There are so many tracks and circuits that just don't allow for the live spectator to see the entire race that the great access of television improves the product.

The Olympics have clearly shown us that figure skating is great televsion. The camera can capture all the action and it has great built in drama with the scoring.

While not for everyone, I love the curling coverage I get from the CBC.

And, as moviegoer suggested, UFC is a great televised sport. The matches are a television friendly length, and there is all kinds of excitement. Best of all, it doesn't have the baggage of boxing. It is rare for a UFC fight to end and it be unclear who actually won. Usually, that guy passed out on the mat with the medical team surrounding him, he lost.

July 27 2006 at 3:12 PM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply
Liz Newcomb

I forgot to mention curling. Now there is a sport made for TV: the matches are usually about 3 hours long, are played in a freezing cold arena, and only really get exciting near the end. For me, that's perfect for a cold winter day with a few cups of a tea and a bathroom down the hall inside of a 15-minute hike through some corridors.

July 27 2006 at 3:01 PM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply
TheMovieGoer

UFC, Ultimate Fighting is the best sports to watch on TV, since it replaced boxing, and The Ultimate Fighter reality show is the best reality series on TV.

July 27 2006 at 1:51 PM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply
Borat

Let me guess, basketball, soccer, golf and nascar are going to be in the worst list right?

While I would say that golf and nascar are really boring, so are baseball and (especially) poker. I mean, poker is not even a sport! It's just a 'game'. It's not a sport if overly obese people can be good at it. Baseball is waaay too long and has way too many fat people.

I am a foreigner in the US so you could say I am a bit culturally biased, but soccer is the most exciting sport. I watched some of the world cup matches in HD and it was really 'the beautiful game'. Plus soccer matches last about 2 hours max and that is a definite plus. They are also more dynamic (though matches with lots of fouls can be frustrating). I also started enjoying basketball during the last season, but all the timeouts and ads soured the experience a bit. I mean, the game is actually an hour long at most but it drags to more than 3 hours sometimes.

Will agree with you on Tennis. It can be fun to watch, and the TV camera angles are great.

July 27 2006 at 1:47 PM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply
jeff smith

You sir are no sports fan. Baseball is a live spectator sport along with hockey. Football was born for TV thus the reason its the number one sport in the United States. Did you forget about a sport called basketball?? To put poker on this list is ridiculous. One sport that should be creeping up is Ultimate Fighting. It is a great television sport that is action packed. If youre going to have someone write an article with this topic, please pick a writer who has some knowledge of sports.

July 27 2006 at 1:05 PM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply
Ryan

I'll agree with everything you said about tennis. I mean sure I would LOVE to be able to go to any of the Grand Slams in person, but the thing is watching it on TV is pretty sweet. And yes when the US Open rolls around I'm a happy camper. But then again I also love ESPN2 with their coverage of the other slams.

But I have to disagree about baseball. I mean it's fine watching it on TV, but as you said the pace is pretty slow relatively. I get bored easily. Says the person who watches tennis right? (But tennis is awesome! Hee.) But anyways I don't think anything beats being in the stadium live. I mean the energy of the crowd makes up for the slow pacing of the sport. Plus it's SO MUCH fun yelling at the opposing team.

July 27 2006 at 11:35 AM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply

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