Friday 26 December 2014

Perception not always reality in media 'noise'

Michael McCarthy

Published 04/06/2014 | 02:30

Carl Froch, right, knocks out George Groves during the IBF & WBA World Super Middleweight title fight at Wembley Stadium
Carl Froch, right, knocks out George Groves during the IBF & WBA World Super Middleweight title fight at Wembley Stadium

Froch-Groves 2 – bringing 80,000 to Wembley Stadium on Saturday night is a testament to what the right PR, media coverage and created hype can still do to sell a sporting event.

What it also did, though, was help illustrate just how much the media can influence our perception of what we're actually seeing in the ring or on the pitch.

On Sky, Jim Watt spoke constantly of the return of "the real" Carl Froch and scored nearly every round to Sky's golden boy. To many of those at the fight, including Amir Khan, who gave his thoughts to Sky between rounds, it was a much closer fight.

On Monday night, Andy Lee spoke to us on 'Off The Ball' and talked about how much the commentary influences our perception of a fight. Re-watch both their fights with the sound turned down and we would have a different take on what happened.

The same is true for all sports. On Sunday, in a packed pub in Clare, wrapped up in the frenzy of Limerick versus Tipperary, our attention was grabbed by events in Portlaoise where the shock of a lifetime was on the cards. I tuned into Dave McIntyre's commentary on Newstalk and narrated to the pub what appeared to be the most thrilling end to a hurling game you'll see this year.

Fast forward to later that night, and 'The Sunday Game' coverage suggested something a little less dramatic.

Yes, Galway got out of jail, but was it ever really in doubt? Those lucky enough to be in O'Moore Park or listening to the Newstalk coverage will have had a very different experience than those who caught the paltry package put out on RTE that night.

We perceive sport on television, at least in part, by what we are told by broadcasters. Sometimes it aids our understanding of what we're seeing. But sometimes it's just noise. It's up to us to differentiate.

MMc

Irish Independent

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