Let Us Unite in Hatred of ESPN's Monday Night Football Double Box and Teaser Graphics
Monday night, Joe Buck and Troy Aikman teased the Bengals/Rams game about seven thousand times through the first 1.5 quarters of the Eagles/Bucs game. We got a graphic on the top left of the screen, myriad broadcast reads, and then the same double box that Steelers fans complained about last week:
— Matt (@SteelerVol4Life) September 19, 2023
This is what happens now because there are two, overlapping Monday Night Football games. You’re watching the first one, but the broadcast keeps telling you about the second one.
It’s incredibly annoying if you are a fan of either team playing the early game. Why? Because Eagles and Bucs fans did not give a flying fuck about the Bengals or Rams. Not at that particular moment. They’re focused on watching the team they support. They’re not changing the channel and they don’t want to see a double box shrink the action when the second game begins.
So why does ESPN do it?
Simple – not everybody watching is an Eagles fan or a Bucs fan. You have a robust national audience that might want to switch off this game and watch Matt Stafford and Joe Burrow instead. Or, maybe they’re doofuses who don’t know how to use a remote control or YouTube TV and don’t know what channel the 2nd game is on. OR, they don’t even know the second game is scheduled for 8:15 p.m., one hour after the first game begins. So they get constant reminders.
The question is whether or not the ESPN teasing amounts to overkill. I think it does. We definitely do not need an upleft chyron sitting there for the entire first quarter, advertising another game. I would assume that this bothers both a local audience and national audience, like “we get it.” We know there’s another game coming up because you told us 15 times already. And the double-boxing is brutal. A quick scan of social media reveals that we are all united in hatred of the double box, especially people who are already multi-screening to begin with:
ESPN is broken.. double box in one box and same game in the other box to the right. I’m confused. pic.twitter.com/xFH9vlIVwd
— Punchline (@MikeyLikesit_17) September 19, 2023
Right, so what’s the solution here?
Ideally, you’d have a different approach in different markets, for instance, if you’re watching in the Philly or Tampa DMA, you don’t get the double-box or graphic. But this is one singular broadcast with the same two announcers, same producers, and same director. I do not think it is technically possible to geofence or run two different graphic sets on a live broadcast like this. You could only tweak the approach on a per-market basis if you ran an alternative broadcast on a different ESPN channel entirely.
Their macro-level strategy appears to be focusing on the national audience, since presumably that slice of the pie is larger than the Philly and Tampa combined viewership. My guess. I’m not totally sure. But obviously ESPN produces the broadcast and directs the game with the national viewer in mind, because they’re pissing off the locals in the process. We don’t don’t give a shit about LA and Cincinnati, we just want to watch the Birds.