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Coverage of Giro vs Tour...commercial and bob Varsha?(23 posts)

Coverage of Giro vs Tour...commercial and bob Varsha?Made in Taiwan
Jul 9, 2001 2:14 AM
I thoroughly enjoyed the coverage of the Giro d'Italia on OLN, eventhough Phil, Paul and Bob were not in Italy, they did a good job in informing and making the race exciting when the peloton was just taking an off day. Long stretch of bike racing with few commercial breaks. When there was a commercial break, it was only 1.5 min. long.

Now, i'm completely dissapointed with the coverage of the Tour. The action is no longer then 5 minutes long and the commercial breaks are 2.5 minutes long. And there ARE A LOT OF COMMERCIAL BREAKS. The pattern stinks. at first i thought this 4 min. action + 2.5 min commercial formula was just for the prologue ITT, since the ITT was so short and there prolly wasn't a lot of action. But on today's stage one they applied this formula. 4 or 4.5 min or racin, and 2.3 min of commercials. geeze, if i buy 2 Mercury mountaineers will they quit showing the SAME commercial?

and what's up with Bob Varsha? who the heck is he? Are Phil and Paul so inexperienced that they need a lead-in/lead-out man? does Varsha even know how to ride a bicycle?

I'm glad that OLN can set up Phil and Paul in France, but do they really need bob varsha? I really can't imagine that Franch TV is doing the same thing, 4 min racing...2 min commercial..4 min racing....2 min commercial

i like the way they did the Giro better.
oh, man...jba
Jul 9, 2001 2:48 AM
I like OLN's live coverage soooooo much better than ESPN's previous crap.

ESPN gave horrible coverage with those damn race-car commercials for DEGREE deodorant and the Mercury "double-naught spy" commercials. And then the LATENIGHT 1/2 hour coverage was a joke. Most of it was Adrian Karsten flapping his flaps about the previous stage and the race route... blah blah blah.... and then his heart-felt "take" on french culture and the european bike racing scene. At least 10minutes was spent on listening to this dork give his impressions of the tour. This left 20 minutes for actual racing and commercials. I shouldn't be so hard on him. At least he appreciated the sport and tried to be a good commentator. I guess.

The giro's 2h coverage is a zillion times better! It's shown 3 times a day!!! Man, I love it, I tell you! OLN devoted SIX HOURS OF PRIME VIEWING TIME TO CYCLING!!! It's a beautiful thing!

Commercials do seem to come often, but I'm seeing so much more than was possible before OLN. I just wish that the advertisers would present different commercials with time. I got that damn mercury mountaineer theme in my head all day.

re: Coverage of Giro vs Tour...commercial and bob Varsha?DCW
Jul 9, 2001 4:23 AM
I have to agree that the simpler coverage of the Giro was preferable to that of the Tour, but the reasons no doubt have to do with money. The TV rights, along with the actual costs of having folks on site each day, must vastly exceed the costs of the Giro coverage. That has to be paid for by commercials. Unfortunately, there are probably few significant sponsors who would support bicycle racing by buying TV ads--thus the predominance of the USPS and Mercury ads.

Two ironies here at least: First, Mercury no doubt inked its sponsorship deal assuming that its team would make the Tour list. Now, after it paid all that money, its team is elsewhere. (I hope this doesn't sour them on supporting cycling.) Second, both USPS and Mercury would probably get more effective viewer response from their ads if they ran fewer of them and allowed more race coverage. All of us are getting sick of the Mountaineer and the guy running around with the sign on the ballfield. Just imagine how we'll feel about them by the end of the Tour. But ads are usually sold on a dollar per minute basis, and OLN must have sold them a lot of minutes.
that's what tape (digital) recorders are for.... nmJohnG
Jul 9, 2001 5:59 AM
re: Look on the bright sideTaylor_A
Jul 9, 2001 6:48 AM
They haven't shown that stupid power bar commercial!!!!!
I agree. Bob Varsha is completely superfluous.9WorCP
Jul 9, 2001 7:11 AM
But to be fair, I think he is acquitting himself fairly well. The things that come out of his mouth don't strike me as mindless or inane. However, Phil and Paul are consumate pros at what they do and don't need that much support.

I think OLN crams as many commercials as possible before the final 10-15 minutes of the race which is mercifully commercial free. But if I see one more Mercury, Bristol-Meyer Squib, USPS commercial I will be a-vomiting.
US doesn't know cyclingCima Coppi
Jul 9, 2001 7:39 AM
Let's face it, the ignorant citizens of the United States don't know squat about international cycling. As a result, we have to put up with cheesy commentators who have to explain about the superficial aspects of racing and correspond it to history of the region and the social life of Europe.

Speaking of commercials, someone should purchase the domain name. It currently points right to the USPS website, but if you could steel it away from them, you'd have great advertising!!
Oh, really. If you had ever been to Europe...J.S.
Jul 9, 2001 10:26 AM
you would know that the only english speaking tour coverage is on Eurosport with David Duffield, who is sooooooo horrible most people turn the sound off. Just ask anyone from the UK.
Oh, really. If you had ever been to Europe...wscott
Jul 9, 2001 10:46 AM
He's been the commentator on some of OLN's cycling coverage. I assume they just bought the Eurosport coverage, edited it, and then played it a couple of weeks after the fact. But he is pretty bad. The all time worst was when Sean Kelly was with him. I'm pretty sure Kelly was actually asleep during parts of the broadcast!
Oh, really. If you had ever been to Europe...spindry
Jul 9, 2001 12:16 PM
> I'm pretty sure Kelly was actually asleep during parts of the broadcast!

Funny that you mention it, I happened to watch that race and kept passing out. I kept thinking to myself "Why isn't Phil doing this race?".

As far as the tour coverage, compared to ESPN it's great, however, it's a real letdown compared to the Giro coverage. As far as I'm concerned Varsha is a complete waste of time. As far as commercials go, it hasn't bothered me since I Tivo the coverage and it takes me maybe 2 seconds to zip past the commercials. If the ratio is really 4 to 2 they do need to cut down. At the very least they should have more commercials earlier, but if some attacks are taking place they should postpone them. Otherwise it's kinda like watching baseball and having them break to a commercial in the middle of a pitch. Maybe it's just me, but I felt there was a smoother flow to the Giro coverage.
Commercials are why you can watch it livemoneyman
Jul 9, 2001 8:39 AM
Television is an advertising medium with programming thrown in to get us to watch the commercials, not the other way around. Without the commercials, we don't watch the tour. Do situps during the commercials if you don't want to watch them and think of the great abs you'll have at the end of the tour!

re: Coverage of Giro vs Tour...commercial and bob Varsha?mackgoo
Jul 9, 2001 9:04 AM
Just enjoy it. Or if you can't go for a ride. If this is what they feel they need to do to get 2 hrs of coverage a day then so be it.
Bob Varsha = Adrian Karstenmr_spin
Jul 9, 2001 9:11 AM
There's no difference for me. Both are useless and take away from the coverage. We don't need tour guides and summaries around commercial breaks. Give me a break. You have the two best cycling broadcasters in the world (at least the English-speaking one)--let THEM talk!

I do think the Giro coverage was much better, but it's still early. The flat stages usually have a lot of dead time and need filler, so it's unfair to judge the coverage just yet.
agree...varsha sux...where's bobke?ColnagoFE
Jul 9, 2001 9:40 AM
seems like he was put in as a favor to someone...he even admitted this was his first TDF. where's bobke at though. he was absent the other night. a feud perhaps?
alittle about Bob...keith m.
Jul 9, 2001 10:06 AM
to those of us who follow auto racing, we are familiar with Bob Varsha. To those who dont, I will tell you he is one of the hardest working, sharpest and most knowledgable commentators I have ever heard. Give him a chance, he wont dissapoint you. I believe that part of the problem with CART losing T.V. ratings is because of the mindless chatter they put in place of true professionals like Bob Varsha (Paul Page and Jack Arute, Arghhhh) that have to explain the most mundain things like the function of a tire or what a wing does or something so stupid as that. Anyway, Bob's a good man.
Agreed, Varsha is very good.J.S.
Jul 9, 2001 10:22 AM
I also follow motor racing and there is not a better announcer than Bob, in fact I believe he is doing a stellar job on the TDF. He's obviously done his homework with correct name pronounciations and very aware of cycling nuances. I sure would rather have Varsha than have to listen to Davis Phinney or Ron Kiefel, uuugghh. Just because you did the sport profesionally doesn't mean you can announce, remember Magic Johnson.
Agreed, Varsha is very good.jschrotz
Jul 9, 2001 11:26 AM
I think Varsha's doing a pretty good job too considering his inexperience with cycling. He's a hell of a lot better than Adrian Karsten ever was. At least he's getting the riders names and the locations right. I don't think he's absolutely necessary, but for those watching that aren't too familiar with racing, he's probably performing well. The constant commercials are getting on my nerves though. If they were different once in a while, they might be tolerable, but how many times do I really need to be told how great the Mercury Mountaineer is? Or that I should use USPS for my small biz needs?
Varsha is not very good.spindry
Jul 9, 2001 12:31 PM
Perhaps if I hadn't watched the Giro with Phil, Paul and Bob Roll, I wouldn't have been dissapointed. But the fact is they did a phenomenal job of covering the Giro and I just don't see why they had to change the format. As far as Varsha goes, you can just tell he doesn't have a clue about cycling. From the moment he first started speaking, my first thoughts were "Why is this guy here?" You can tell he's reading this stuff off and doesn't know what any of it means. There's just no intensity there.
Appreciate what your gettingRoger2
Jul 9, 2001 12:36 PM
I agree with you that there are tooooo many commercial breaks but really this is the first opportunity for us in the states to see the Tour or at least this much of it and I can deal with the commercials. Beggars can't be choosers. If it takes plenty of commercials for me to have a chance to see the TDF than so be it. Besides I've got a VCR and a fastforward button. ;0)

Regarding Bob, he's new to bike racing so give him a chance. Like others have said he's done his homework and he's trying and doing well. Although, I don't think it's necessary he chimes in at the beginning and end of each segment, although it does forewarn that commercials are coming when he begins to talk and you can go do something else or hit that FF button on the remote if you taped it.

Appreciate what your gettingKen56
Jul 9, 2001 1:38 PM
You guys should be thankful that you even have some coverage to watch. My cable company has never heard of OLN.
re: Coverage of Giro vs Tour...commercial and bob Varsha?jaybird
Jul 9, 2001 1:50 PM
Who is the chick? Jessica??? she's kinda cute...
Jessica Grieco, a world class track rider at one time I thinkJ.S.
Jul 9, 2001 2:14 PM
Anybody know which event? I want to say sprinter but I'm not sure
Thank goodness for UltimateTV!DAS
Jul 9, 2001 4:34 PM
Sorry to brag, but UltimateTV is the only way to watch the Tour. No commercials, I watch the Tour when I want to watch it, and I can fast forward any of the non-essentials parts. Sure, I watch a commercial or two, and I watch a lot of them at very high speeds, but I've managed to avoid the high volume of very few ads that cycling generates.

In general, I love the coverage! Lots of Phil and Paul, lots of detail, so much better than ESPN. I agree the Giro was better only because Bob Roll always added a florid, outrageous comment or two. And, Bob Roll loves to talk about (and reminisce about) pain. But, I'm sure I'll get used to Bob Varsha, whoever he is. Why isn't Bob Roll there? He shaved his lamb chops, wasn't that enough for OLN?

As long as Phil is running the show all is well.

Go Lance!