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Some thoughts about Marquee Sports Network’s new scorebox and scoreboxes in general

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The Cubs channel changed their scorebox for the 2021 season and it’s excellent.

Marquee Sports Network

Thursday’s game was the first 2021 Cubs regular-season game I had watched on Marquee Sports Network, as I had attended the other six games played so far this year at Wrigley Field.

So I thought it was time to make a few comments on a few changes at Marquee.

First, as you know, I had criticized their scorebox (or “scorebug,” as some call it) last year as not well-placed and difficult to read.

This year, Marquee has changed the box’s location and the style of the information given and it gets a big thumbs-up from me:

That’s the perfect location for the box — upper left, not blocking anything, to me it’s the way the eye naturally goes on the screen to check the current game situation. The score is easily readable, baserunners are easy to see in white on a blue background and the outs are given in text rather than dots, which I also find easier to read. The inning is prominently displayed, and so is the current pitcher’s pitch count. (This was the pitch that Javy Baez golfed for his two-run homer.)

Great stuff, Marquee. Thank you!

I’ll come back to more on scoreboxes later, but there are a couple of other graphics Marquee used during its Thursday broadcast that I wanted to mention.

First, this pitch selection graphic for Jake Arrieta that was shown during the first inning:

This is a nicely-formatted graphic breaking down Jake’s pitch selection and average velocity during his first start. Easy to read, with colors designating the type of pitch. Well done here as well.

Later, there was another graphic shown during the game breaking down Arrieta’s various pitch types and comparing 2015 Jake to 2020 Jake:

There’s a fair amount of information there, but it’s formatted well and easy to digest.

I’m enjoying Boog and JD together. Even after just a few games they seem to have a good rapport and similar sensibilities about baseball. They can go off on tangents, such as the one they did about pancakes and waffles during Thursday’s game, without taking the focus away from the play on the field.

These are all excellent, positive additions to the game broadcast. Looking forward to more innovations.

Returning to the general topic of scoreboxes, Joe Lucia of Awful Announcing wrote this article rating all the scoreboxes (sometimes called “scorebugs”) on all the regional sports networks:

It’s worth remembering that nearly all of MLB’s 30 teams are on either an AT&T, Bally, or NBC RSN. By my count, 22 teams have games airing on one of those RSNs (I’m including the Mariners here, though they never rebranded their RSN from Root Sports to AT&T SportsNet, because they still use the AT&T graphics). The other eight teams are on other branded RSNs with their own graphics, adding a few other options to this exercise.

I agree with some of Lucia’s rankings and not with others; this is an esthetic preference that’s different for everyone, and you can check out the article for his thoughts. One thing I do agree with him on is the placement and look of the new scorebox on the Bally Sports Networks, the rebranding of the former Fox Sports Networks:

That’s... awful. By including the ticker to the right of the score, Bally takes focus away from the game you’re watching and puts it on the scores of other games. The reason for that is obvious: Bally’s is promoting gambling on sports events and this gives you an up-close-and-personal look at sports events other than the one you’re watching, perhaps enticing you to make a wager or three on them.

I take no position on this; gambling is apparently being looked at as the next big money-maker for sports leagues and broadcast partners and we are just going to have to live with it.

Beyond that, the information about the game you are actually watching is cluttered and squished into the lower left side of the screen.

They could have done this in a different way; if they’re going to leave the ticker up all the time, well then just do that, and give us a different scorebox.

You know, like the Fox Sports version you just trashcanned:

That’s one of the best, cleanest and most readable scoreboxes on any broadcast channel. Good contrast, well-organized, use of team colors... now, the only place you’ll see that one is on MLB games on Fox’s broadcast channel and FS1.

Obviously, TV channels all have their own brands and Bally’s certainly wanted to have its own to differentiate itself from Fox. They could have done better.

Thanks again to Marquee to listening to Cubs fans and changing their scorebox graphic. You also might have seen Marquee’s nicely-done video revealing that its announcers wouldn’t be wearing jackets and ties this year. If not, here it is:

Marquee’s new tag line is “We get it” and I believe they actually do. I enjoyed Thursday’s broadcast and look forward to more on Marquee.