Commentary and Theory with a yinzer slant #year9

Reviewing Lacrosse Sports Net

LSN is a year old and  I’m a member as of Saturday.

Prior to this weekend, I’ve thought about the LSN in the following ways:

  1. Why did they hire all these MCLA announcers?
  2. Why is the MLL making me pay to watch their games?
  3. And more recently, when the MLL/NLL/LSN whoever couldn’t figure out how to get the NLL games on LSN as well, a take spearheaded by Ryan Danehy of In Your Face Lax Podcast

I’ve have had no reason to sign up for the subscription service until last night and quite frankly nothing that I’m aware of with regarding to future programming suggested otherwise.

It’s not that LSN is a terrible product or I don’t like lacrosse enough to spend $7.99 a month on access to more content. The issue for me is the LSN is very focused on the MLL.

Until the MLL is a full time league, I’m not super interested in MLL content beyond waiting for game highlights on YouTube. When the teams start practicing five times a week and are full time paid professional athletes, then the league will interest me.

What the league can do to reach that level is a post for another time. Congratulations to Jake and other top league officials for even operating a professional outdoor lacrosse league for so long.

What LSN Offers

Without knowing or caring to know how many MLL games were played last season, LSN has fifty eight archived MLL games available to watch including the playoffs, championship, and alumni scrimmage at Lake Placid. That seems like a lot and is by far the most games of any league the LSN has available.

I have no use for additional MLL content like player interviews and schedule breakdowns. There are like six teams in the league it’s not like any of the squads can make significant out of conference scheduling decisions.

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When the LSN isn’t showing an MLL game, the talking head shows with Chris Marshall, Margo McAuley, Josh Hawkins, and others fill up their programming. LSN releases clips of these shows to Twitter and I’ve been underwhelmed but I also don’t care for pregame, halftime, or afternoon debate shows on an major network so why would I enjoy the LSN iteration? Maybe there are subscribers out there that love these shows.

Hawkins is never professionally dressed. Marshall is always in sneakers and Eldridge wasn’t wearing a tie for their first video (see above). I’d be curious to know if they dress themselves or if the network provides clothing. Either way not being immaculately dressed for the camera seems to run congruent with the MLL being a part time league.

Outside of Travis Eldridge, a Newhouse graduate, I’m not sure who else has formal broadcasting training besides what they’ve tried to learn on the job. McAuley and Marshall both come from the MCLA webcast world, which most old money Baltimore lacrosse people don’t respect. McAuley has said as early as 2012 that she wanted to be in sports broadcasting.

You’re not going to be able to replicate PTI or First Take without seasoned television professionals which the LSN does not have in their stable whatsoever. Read this article about Skip Bayless. Do you think anyone in lacrosse media preps for a show the same way? To be fair, no one in lacrosse media is making $5.5 million a year so the expectations are understandably lower. Much like the MLL, one has to imagine that the longer LSN is around and trying to improve the better their talking show shows will become.

Cleveland State Michigan Production: The Reason for Subscribing

There’s a lot of anti-LSN rhetoric above but despite all that noise I am now an LSN subscriber for two reasons:

  • LSN carried the Cleveland State Michigan game
  • I was initially planning on attending the game until I discovered it was at 7pm Saturday night and driving home at 10PM or staying in Cleveland on said Saturday night was not appealing

Rate this love for lacrosse:

  • Stays in a Saturday night
  • Stares at computer…all night
  • Watches first year program play a team that’s never had a winning season

And, to add another list to this post, here’s why I needed to watch the CSU Michigan game:

  • Witness D1 lacrosse history
  • See how competitive Cleveland State could be in their first game
  • Curiosity regarding Michigan’s 2017 season, are they going to be any good? Consider Army’s destruction of Michigan in the fall. There are some questions in Ann Arbor.

Did you know Northwestern girl’s program have won more national championships (2) in their first five seasons as a restored program than Michigan has had winning seasons (0)?

Easy decision to sign up for LSN to watch the CSU Michigan game.

 

 

I signed up for LSN around 6:30. They were airing a bit of a preshow with McAuley discussing scores from earlier in the day. Apparently, every win was a “big win.” A friend was at the game and sending me photos from warmups so I was getting the micro and macro feel for pregame. When the did start, there was a moment of sheer panic because the announcing crew decided to…

Excuse my language but you can’t imagine how cold that shower was in that moment. Fortunately, they sat down seconds later.

From a production standpoint, LSN used one camera from the middle of the field as seen above and one camera on the sideline. They would use the sideline camera feed when switching the main camera for the next shot so viewers weren’t treated to long pans and periods of inactivity normally plagued by one camera procutions. While not exactly an ESPN broadcast, two cameras does make a big difference.

The announcing crew wasn’t terrible. One thing that remains a mystery as why announcers feel the need to explain rules and elementary tactics. Casual sports fans aren’t watching games on ESPNU and they especially aren’t watching a monthly subscription service. I’d love to get higher level analysis on the broadcast than, “that’s what we call a mumbo.” Perhaps after another season of few rule changes and more experienced announcers, lacrosse can reach that level.

 

As underdogs typically like to do, Cleveland State scored the first goal of the game. What a special occasion for those kids, the coaches, and the administration that decided to add the sport.

What’s Next for LSN

Saturday night, I complained to whoever would listen that there only twelve college games available of which two are fall ball scrimmages and five are D2 and D3 games. Perhaps my expectation was that they would have every college game from 2016 that wasn’t on ESPN or a paid webcast.

If they are only going to have ten college springs games from 2017 on LSN, I can’t imagine continuing my subscription beyond May. Now, if they were ever able to also carry the NLL, then the discussion changes to okay I’m looking forward to signing up again for next winter and then quitting.

Full disclosure, everything above this paragraph was written on Sunday. This week, I did some digging on forthcoming LSN programming and rejoice, they are carrying a ton of college games this spring.

Sad to report this happened while trying to watch the game again this afternoon. Not sure if it is an LSN problem or Yinzer internet issues.

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The 2016 iteration of LSN wasn’t a bad product. It just was a bad product for me and anyone who cares way more about college lacrosse than the MLL and is highly critical of television production. Looks like 2017 could be a vast improvement. Suggest you sign up this weekend.

 

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