Should commentators 'hype up' the action just or report it?

Viewing 15 posts - 1 through 15 (of 33 total)
  • Author
  • #340701

    A comment by @peartree about Sky’s F1 commentator David Croft in this article caught my attention:

    it’s Crofty’s job to hype up

    It’s not really relevant to that article which is why I’ve brought it up here. Is it the job of motor racing commentators (or any sports commentators) to ‘hype up’ the action?

    As I do some commentary myself I’m interested to hear you’re views on this. My attitude is that the commentator is there to explain and comprehend what’s going on. If in the course of the race I get excited about what’s happening and that comes across in the commentary then so much the better.

    But ‘hyping up’ to me implies pretending that a contest is closer than it really is. I don’t necessarily agree that other commentators do this, but should they? Have you ever felt a commentator was pretending the race is more spectacular or competitive than it really was?

    Very keen to get your views on this one!

    James Brickles

    I would say that commentators should inform the viewer over what is going on while at the same time, trying to keep it interesting with a few relevant facts about the driver/team/circuit/etc. In my view, Ben Edwards is really good at this and I much prefer his commentary over David Croft’s. Commentary shouldn’t be hyped, but it also shouldn’t be boring.


    When I still had the opportunity to watch F1 on the BBC and thus enjoy the commentary of Ben Edwards I did feel I enjoyed watching races live more even though in hindsight sometimes they weren’t that exciting. So I’m not saying he did hype the race, he did gave it a certain flair to get you involved more than other commentators do. He and DC were a great pair if you ask me. Quite often on a fairly common overtake his commentary made it more (for me) than it actually was. I guess it’s not that much creating a hype as having the ability to share his enthusiasm.

    So in comparison right now I have to watch the F1 in a language I understand half the time and I do notice how I do not enjoy live races IF they are not exciting themselves. Luckily I haven’t had to experience that yet in 2017. Gaetan tries his best but his voice is dull and his knowledge of the sport isn’t that great, at least it’s better than the lead guitarist of a band who does the commenting in my own language, he wouldn’t even know which drivers drive for which team at times.


    It should be a mixture of both, informative but also have a passion for it as well, both Ben and Crofty can get way too excited at some mundane stuff from time to time, just be thankful it’s not like indycar commentary,( the US commentary, not you Keith )


    In general @keithcollantine, I definitely agree that a commentator should report on an event, giving commentary to explain and help the viewer comprehend what’s happening that which isn’t obvious from the screen. I do think there is, as @porchef1 says, a role in showing the viewers where there are interesting events, or possiblilities, when at the surface the race might be stagnant. But, it has to stay grounded in realism. From the times I saw your commentary @keithcollantine, I quite liked the way you gave insight, and background knowledge where appropriate while keeping a keen eye on what’s happening on track.

    I didn’t see Sky/CH4 last weekend, instead being confined to RTL Germany, so don’t know what exactly Crofty said, but ‘my’ commentary seemed to be positive about Hamilton catching Vettel for quite a bit after it was clear that he didn’t have enough laps or pace. Still, they did conclude before the end that Vettel was going to win.

    Crofty is on the whole too often running away with excitement to pay attention to what’s happening on track, in my opinion. But Sky is a lot more disciplined than RTL in not talking over radio communication (probably bc. they then translate what’s being said for their viewers? sigh), another one of small annoyances!

    What is very annoying, and quite unforgivable from commentators or so-called analysts, and I see it from RTL as well as from Sky, is bias in how actions/speed of a driver/team are interpreted based on like or nationality (RTL is a bit more blatant in being pro-Germans/Austrian-team, though not very pro German team Mercedes somehow; Crofty is quite pro Hamilton, but Brundle and others are often more neutral, or rather, less consistently biased). When it happens, it makes all analysis pretty much useless, and it is one of the reasons I don’t often watch the pre- and post- race shows anymore, and instead only read your analysis on F1Fanatic


    I rather have a commentator that’s watching the same race as I am. In my view the role of the commentator is to fills the gaps in my knowledge as a viewer and also provides information that I’m not willing to take my eyes of the screen for, such as timings, gaps, strategies, etc.

    On the 2nd part, I have felt a commentator was pretending the race is more spectacular or competitive than it really was, which is why I felt Crofty was hyping up, he pretty much said it himself, live, Crofty said he knew it was a long shot but he had to be excited with the prospect of Hamilton coming back, in the end I think he was not wrong to do so but I still think commentators shouldn’t hype up. I feel Crofty is pressured to deliver that excitement, that’s what I meant with the “it’s Crofty’s job to hype up” comment. Definitely not the excitement Murray Walker had for F1. Crofty, he’s always trying to be entertaining trying to push sky, he’s bias because he’s on sky’s side.
    Edwards excitement I feel is more genuine, it’s not that Edwards hypes up when there’s nothing to be excited about but rather Edwards truly believing on a different outcome. Edwards gets excited about Lewis and the Brits which is only natural, sometimes though I feel like Edwards is a bit distracted, he makes more mistakes and old fashioned assumptions, for instances he picks up on anything to say that Max might be a bit immature.
    I’d rather have the Brundle and Coulthard of old, they were together for just a season but they had the perfect stance.


    Whichever one is more profitable for their employer in my opinion.


    Personally though I would prefer a non hyped-up reporting.

    Ben Needham

    It’s an interesting question – and one that instantly has Murray Walker’s excitable yells running through my head!

    I think “hyping up” for me is very subjective and entirely depends on whether I believe the excitement of the commentator. With Murray you could almost feel his joy through the television even when he wasn’t talking. Nothing was ever forced with Murray and he always spoke from his heart. Supported by Martin Brundle/James Hunt etc, this made for a great combination of excitement and information, none of which was insincere.

    Take Jonathan Legard, for example, who did a two year stint for the BBC. While knowledgeable, I just never believed that he enjoyed Formula One as much as me (and the rest of the F1Fanatic’s) and felt that he just saw it as a job. Personally I don’t totally mind Croft/Edwards and I think they do a good job, but for me they are both missing a little of Murray’s buzz. But maybe I’m biased as Murray was quite literally the sound of my childhood.

    Alianora La Canta

    I see commentators as having three jobs, in order (but all necessary to some extent):

    #1 Telling people what is happening
    #2 Telling people why they should care
    #3 Translating complicated things that are relevant to #1 and #2 into simpler terms

    “Hype” could be interpreted as an element of #2. If the racing is good, no hype should be necessary, but if the racing is bad, some “spin” may be justified to prevent the whole thing from becoming an unwarranted moanfest. (Occasionally things are so terrible that a moanfest is the only proper response, but if that is done for an entire season, however justified, it’s kind of difficult to justify doing commentary on that subject for the following year).

    I can accept hype from a mediocre commentator, especially if the racing is bad at the time. However, a great commentator does not need hype – they can work purely with the racing as it is, regardless of what state it is in.

    kim cunningham

    I hate hype fake intensity voice. Leigh Diffy does that…Bob Varsha never did. I much prefer Bobs voice. It’s natural and he sticks to the facts not the gossip.


    I like when the commentary offers something you can’t see on screen or some special insight. I thought that I could cope without any commentary at all, but watching a few races a year on RTL with limited understanding of German I certainly miss extra information and an idea of what’s happening elsewhere on track.

    Over the season I listen to some races on 5 Live and I think they do a pretty good job given they have to explain much more about the order, timing, etc. The emphasis on overtakes, pit stops, contact and so on seems a bit more obvious on the radio, but I guess it helps get your attention.

    Sometimes the excited references to F1 records feel a bit overdone… “The first time since 2003 a German driver born in March with a prime number on their car has…” etc.


    I think a good commentator is there to give explanation to difficult situation to understand for the casual viewer without too many repetition not to bore the regular viewer and describe the action specially if it is not shown on screen (they have often more information than the viewer and we rely on them to have part of it).

    I dislike commentators which are over excited or those who feel the need to speak constantly. Having few moments to just see the action, heard it and live it is great as well and I think it is often missing (I would prefer that than the story about a friends of the commentator which has been driving in a Renault Clio, just to say that it is not relevant to the race I am watching at all).

    It’s maybe best for you not to understand everything Gaetan is saying since there is too much not related to the race according to me. However it was really nice to have Vandoorne with him, bringing good insight and showing how a good consultant can make a difference.


    A fake hype up of a boring race we can all see through but love when a commentator gets so into his job, as long as it genuine.

    Murray Walker is obviously the king of F1, he wont be surpassed. But I do enjoy Crofty for sure.

    If you have not seen UFC watch Joe Rogan introduce a big fight – the guys spits through the TV screen on to your face!! That’s promoting 🏁


    It’s not so much ‘not understanding’, my French is très bien. It’s just as you say he’s not worth listening too compared to Ben Edwards on BBC or even the SKy folk.

Viewing 15 posts - 1 through 15 (of 33 total)
  • You must be logged in to reply to this topic.