Case Study: How ROOT Sports is ruining the viewing experience

The objective of this post was to document how ROOT Sports is using too many "cut shots" during the course of a game. We were going to watch the ROOT Sports broadcast and note all of the cut shots, then do the same thing with the Penguins’ opponent’s broadcast. We didn't even have to do a whole game to prove our point.
 

What we did

We fired up our GameCenter accounts and compared the Penguins' ROOT Sports broadcast and the Dallas Stars' Fox Sports Southwest broadcast from Saturday night. We also kept track of cut shots from the third period of the Winnipeg-Chicago game that was on TSN last night. Every time the camera switched from the wide broadcast angle during play, we paused the game and noted the time. For example, we consider this a cut shot:
 
This play is in the neutral zone. The camera goes from the normal wide-angle camera to a bizarre cut shut of a zoom-in on Malkin. We purposely cut off the end of this GIF that goes back to the wide angle because what if there is a Stars player about to pick off Malkin's pass? We don't know until he's about to shoot the puck on Fleury. Ridiculous.
 
Here's another good example. Watch Chuck Kobasew leave the zone up close and personal:
 
 
More examples and the stunning results of our study after the jump…
 

RESULTS

First period of the Penguins’ broadcast on ROOT Sports 

Total cut shots used – 64
 

First period of the Dallas Stars' Broadcast on Fox Sports Southwest

Total cut shots used – 32
 

Third period of the TSN Feed for Winnipeg/Chicago

Total cut shots used – 11
 
ROOT Sports: The cut shots averaged about two seconds, and they took place in almost all aspects of the game — in the neutral zone, corners, and behind the goalies. 64 cut shots at two seconds equals about two full minutes' worth of missed played.
 
Fox Sports Southwest: Cut shots were two seconds, as well. There were zero cut shots used while the puck was in the neutral zone. Read that again — zero. The only cut shots came when the puck was along the boards or behind the net.
 
TSN: Interesting thing about the TSN feed. They used a significantly less number of cut shots, but their cut shots averaged close to 4.5 seconds in length, which means they know exactly when to utilize the cut shots. No action was missed during the cut shots, and there weren't any neutral-zone cut shots, whereas on ROOT, passing options for a player leading the rush are not seen because we are fed a zoomed-in shot time and time and time again.
 

Proof

Here are times the cut shots occurred on ROOT Sports:
 
19:34
19:22
19:09
19:04
18:54
18:34
18:22
17:53
17:32
17:24
17:05
16:37
16:13
16:07
15:54
15:20
15:12
15:03
14:55
14:48
14:33
14:08
13:57
13:27
13:09
12:37
12:13
12:08
12:00
11:52
11:41
11:37
11:31 
10:47
10:15
10:00
9:55
9:43
9:23
8:54
8:49
8:26
8:22
7:58
7:41
7:32
7:16
7:05
6:57
6:35
6:21
5:12
4:41
4:26
4:21
3:54
3:33
3:19
2:37
2:11
1:17
1:08
25.1
16.0

Here are the times for Fox Sports Southwest:

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18:58
18:34
17:32
17:05
16:37
16:18
16:09
15:12
15:02
14:55
14:48
14:08
13:35
12:06
11:59
11:41
11:04 
10:43
10:05
9:42
9:24
8:50
8:22
7:59
7:04
6:41
5:58
5:48
5:13
3:32
1:58
14.0

The times for TSN:
 
19:50
19:20
14:42
12:08
11:28
9:51
9:22
8:44
7:17
5:22
3:17
 

Summary

We knew this was a problem, but we never realized how bad it was until now. Watching the ROOT Sports feed was a nightmare. We thought the sample size might be too small, but after doing the first period, the thought of even approaching the second period was unthinkable. The cut shots when a player is carrying the puck through the neutral make the game borderline unwatchable.
 
We have so many questions about this. Who is running the ship? Why are they doing it? There has to be a direct instruction from someone to do this.
 
Some more examples from ROOT Sports:
 
- Jamie Benn is carrying the puck into the Penguins' zone.
The camera cuts to a look from the corner.
And then watch as they miss the pass altogether…
 
Let us see what Jamie Been sees, please.
 
- In this one, Chris Kunitz is leading a rush up the ice. Right before this, the Pens were struggling in their own zone, and Marc-Andre Fleury lost his stick…
 
So, yeah, let's cut to Fleury getting his stick back? Yikes.
 
What in the world is going on there? We have no idea who the producer is for ROOT Sports, but that person really needs to rethink their methodology. Because it is awful.
 
We don't know much about much, but we do know about watching hockey games on TV. The product ROOT Sports is displaying is an embarrassment to hockey broadcasts. It is forced and borderline unwatchable. It's almost like they cannot wait to make some kind of move with the cameras.
 
ROOT Sports will point to their ratings and say, “If it ain’t broke, don’t fix it.” But they are completely delusional if they think the quality of their broadcast has anything to do with their ratings. They can thank Sidney Crosby and Evgeni Malkin for that. 
 
The Stars' feed was fine. 32 may be too many cutshots, but it didn't interrupt the game. It maintained the flow. AND THEY NEVER DID IT IN THE NEUTRAL ZONE.
 
And when it comes to TSN, well, holy shit.  This is how it is done…
 
EDIT: A cut shot because nothing important is happening. Just line changes. Professional-quality stuff. If it seems simple, that's the point. And, again, TSN they never used a cut shot in the neutral zone.
 

Will anything change?

No. It is clear the production team at ROOT Sports will do whatever they want in their never-ending quest to ruin watching a hockey game. We're not saying these people aren't working hard; they are just terrible at what they are doing. And we aren't the only ones who feel like this. But since they hold all the cards, all we can do is hope they one day realize how truly horrible they are making the game.
 
Cut shots aren't terrible. When you use them like TSN does, it can add something to the game. But when you routinely take the viewer out of the big picture so you can zoom in on a player, it is beyond annoying.
 
Pens/Sabres is on NBCSN tonight. Here's hoping someone at ROOT Sports watches the broadcast and takes notes. Because we'll be.
 
 
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