Color commentator

Last updated

Main commentator Arsenio Canada (middle) introduces the basketball game between CB Estudiantes and CB Malaga assisted by two color analysts: Manel Comas (left), former coach, and Juanma Iturriaga (right), former player. Manel Comas, Arsenio Canada, Juanma Iturriaga - Liga ACB - TVE.jpg
Main commentator Arsenio Cañada (middle) introduces the basketball game between CB Estudiantes and CB Málaga assisted by two color analysts: Manel Comas (left), former coach, and Juanma Iturriaga (right), former player.

A color commentator or expert commentator is a sports commentator who assists the main (play-by-play) commentator, typically by filling in when play is not in progress. The person may also be referred to as a summariser (outside North America) or analyst (a term used throughout the English-speaking world). [1] The color analyst and main commentator will often exchange comments freely throughout the broadcast, when the main commentator is not describing the action. [2] The color commentator provides expert analysis and background information, such as statistics, strategy, and injury reports on the teams and athletes, and occasionally anecdotes or light humor. Color commentators are often former athletes or coaches of the sport being broadcast. [3]


The term color refers to levity and insight provided by a secondary announcer. A sports color commentator customarily works alongside the play-by-play broadcaster. [4] [5] [6]

United States and Canada

Commentary teams typically feature one professional commentator describing the passage of play, and another, usually a former player or coach, providing supplementary input as the game progresses. Color commentators usually restrict their input to times that the ball or the puck is out of play, or there is no significant action on the field or the court. They usually defer to the main commentator when a shot on goal or another significant event occurs. That sometimes results in them being talked over or cut short by the primary commentator. Former players and managers also appear as pundits and carry out a similar role to that of the co-commentator during the pre-game show before a given contest and the post-game show after it.

In American motorsports coverage, there may be as many as two color commentators in the booth for a given broadcast. [7]

In the 2010s, sports broadcasters began to feature a "rules analyst", who provides opinions and insights on calls made by referees and is typically also a former official. The practice was first popularized in the NFL, with Fox hiring former officials Mike Pereira and Dean Blandino. [8] [9] [10] The practice has since been extended to other sports, with officials such as Steve Javie (basketball), Dave Jackson (hockey), and Joe Machnik (soccer) having taken on similar roles for ESPN/ABC and Fox respectively. [11] [12] [13]

United Kingdom

The term "color commentator" is largely unknown outside American sports such as football. In the United Kingdom, the equivalent role is usually called "summariser" but other terms used are "analyst", "pundit" or simply "co-commentator". Cricket coverage on ESPNcricinfo uses similar terminology.

Australia and New Zealand

The term is not used in Australia or New Zealand. Those giving the analysis alongside the main commentator are sometimes said to be giving additional or expert analysis, or "special comments", or they may be referred to as "expert commentators".

Latin America

For Association football broadcasts on Latin American sports television channels, such a commentator is called a comentarista in both Spanish and Portuguese and contrasts with the narrador, locutor (Spanish and Portuguese) or relator (Spanish - Argentina and Uruguay) who leads the transmission. The term "color" is not used or translated.

Related Research Articles

<span class="mw-page-title-main">Pat Summerall</span> American football player and sportscaster (1930–2013)

George Allen "Pat" Summerall was an American football player and television sportscaster who worked for CBS, Fox, and ESPN. In addition to football, he announced major golf and tennis events. Summerall announced 16 Super Bowls on network television, 26 Masters Tournaments, and 21 US Opens. He contributed to 10 Super Bowl broadcasts on CBS Radio as a pregame host or analyst.

<span class="mw-page-title-main">Sports commentator</span> Sports broadcaster who comments a live event

In sports broadcasting, a sports commentator provides a real-time live commentary of a game or event, traditionally delivered in the present tense. Radio was the first medium for sports broadcasts, and radio commentators must describe all aspects of the action to listeners who cannot see it for themselves, that way there is an understanding of what is going on. In the case of televised sports coverage, commentators are presented as a voiceover, with images of the contest shown on viewers' screens and sounds of the action and spectators heard in the background. Television commentators are rarely shown on screen during an event, though some networks choose to feature their announcers on camera either before or after the contest or briefly during breaks in the action.

<span class="mw-page-title-main">Mike Joy</span> American sports announcer

Michael Kinsey Joy is an American TV sports announcer and businessman who currently serves as the lap-by-lap voice of Fox Sports' coverage of NASCAR. His color analysts are Clint Bowyer and Kevin Harvick. Counting 2024, Joy has been part of the live broadcast of 45 Daytona 500s. He also serves as expert analyst for A&E Networks History Channel and FYI live TV coverage of collector car auctions.

The NFL on Westwood One Sports is the branding for Cumulus Broadcasting subsidiary Westwood One's radio coverage of the National Football League. These games are distributed throughout the United States and Canada. The broadcasts were previously branded with the CBS Radio and Dial Global marques; CBS Radio was the original Westwood One's parent company and Dial Global purchased the company in 2011. Dial Global has since reverted its name to Westwood One after merging with Cumulus Media Networks.

NASCAR on Fox, also known as Fox NASCAR, is the branding used for broadcasts of NASCAR races produced by Fox Sports and have aired on the Fox television network in the United States since 2001. Speed, a motorsports-focused cable channel owned by Fox, began broadcasting NASCAR-related events in February 2002, with its successor Fox Sports 1 taking over Fox Sports' cable event coverage rights when that network replaced Speed in August 2013. Throughout its run, Fox's coverage of NASCAR has won thirteen Emmy Awards.

<span class="mw-page-title-main">Mike Pereira</span> American football official (born 1950)

Mike Pereira is a former American football official and later vice president of officiating for the National Football League (NFL) and currently the head of officiating for the United Football League (UFL). Since 2010, he has served as a rules analyst for Fox Sports, for which he has gained the nickname "Mikey Rule Books".

From 2006 to 2008, NBC's studio show was originally broadcast out of the rink at New York's Rockefeller Center, at the foot of NBC's offices during January and February. This allowed the on-air talent, including commentators for NHL on NBC, and their guests to demonstrate plays and hockey skills. From April onwards, and during inclement weather, the studio show moved to Studio 8G inside the GE Building, where NBC produces its Football Night in America program. For the Stanley Cup Finals, the show was usually broadcast on location.

SportsNet Pittsburgh is an American regional sports network owned as a joint venture between the Pittsburgh Penguins and the Pittsburgh Pirates. It is operated by sister network NESN through common ownership with Fenway Sports Group. Headquartered in Pittsburgh, the channel broadcasts local coverage of sports events throughout Greater Pittsburgh and western Pennsylvania. It is the exclusive home of the Pittsburgh Penguins and the Pittsburgh Pirates.

<i>Thursday Night Football</i> Branding for NFL games usually broadcast on Thursdays

Thursday Night Football is the branding used for broadcasts of National Football League (NFL) games that broadcast primarily on Thursday nights. Most of the games kick off at 8:15 Eastern Time.

<span class="mw-page-title-main">Root Sports Northwest</span> American regional sports television network

Root Sports Northwest, sometimes branded simply as Root Sports, is an American regional sports network owned by the Seattle Mariners. Headquartered near Seattle in the city of Bellevue, Washington, the channel broadcasts regional coverage of sports events throughout the Pacific Northwest, with a focus on professional sports teams based in Seattle and Portland. It is available on cable providers throughout Washington, Oregon, Idaho, Montana, and Alaska and nationwide on satellite via DirecTV.

MSG Sportsnet is an American regional sports network owned by MSG Entertainment; it operates as a sister channel to MSG Network. The network serves the New York City metropolitan area, whose reach expands to cover the entire state of New York, Northern New Jersey, Southwestern Connecticut and Northeastern Pennsylvania; MSG Sportsnet carries sports events from several of the New York area's professional sports franchises, as well as college sports events.

National television broadcasts of National Football League (NFL) games first aired on ABC from 1948 to 1951. Between 1970 and 2005, Monday Night Football aired exclusively on ABC. In 2006, ESPN took over as the exclusive rights holder to Monday Night Football, and the ABC Sports division was merged into ESPN Inc. by parent company Disney. Afterward, ABC did not broadcast any game from the NFL, whether exclusive or a simulcast from ESPN, until they simulcasted an NFL Wild Card playoff game in 2016. ABC would then return to Monday Night Football in 2020, when they aired three games as simulcasts from ESPN.

On March 12, 1990, at the NFL's annual meeting in Orlando, Florida, the league new ratified four-year television agreements for the 1990 to 1993 seasons involving ABC, CBS, NBC, ESPN and TNT. The contracts totaled US$3.6 billion, the largest package in television history. This contract saw each network having rights to one Super Bowl telecast as part of the package. The fourth Super Bowl (XXVIII) was up for a separate sealed bid. NBC won the bid, and since they were last in the rotation for Super Bowl coverage in the regular contract, ended up with two straight Super Bowls. CBS is the only other network to televise two Super Bowls in a row. NBC, which had held XXVII, was the only network to bid on XXVIII. Previously, the league alternated the Super Bowl broadcast among its broadcast network partners, except for Super Bowl I; CBS broadcast Super Bowl II, then the league rotated the broadcast between CBS and NBC until 1985 when ABC entered the rotation when that network broadcast Super Bowl XIX.

<i>NFL on Prime Video</i> Branding for NFL games broadcast on Amazon Prime Video

NFL on Prime Video is the branding used for broadcasts of National Football League (NFL) games on the subscription video on-demand over-the-top streaming and rental service Amazon Prime Video and on sister service Twitch as part of Prime Video Sports. Amazon currently holds exclusive streaming rights for Thursday Night Football.

The NHL on TNT is an American presentation of National Hockey League (NHL) games produced by TNT Sports, and televised on TNT and streamed on Max in the United States.


  1. "Color commentator | Define Color commentator at". Archived from the original on February 2, 2014. Retrieved February 3, 2014.
  2. "What Is a Color Commentator?". Houston Chronicle. November 29, 2010. Archived from the original on May 20, 2014. Retrieved February 3, 2014.
  3. "Announcers: Occupational Outlook Handbook — What Announcers Do". Bureau of Labor Statistics. January 8, 2014. Archived from the original on April 1, 2012. Retrieved February 3, 2014.
  4. "Color Commentary and Play by Play: A Well-Rounded Approach to Facebook". Inkling Media. May 2, 2012. Archived from the original on January 16, 2014. Retrieved February 3, 2014.
  5. "The Sportscaster: A Brief History & Job Description". January 7, 2014. Archived from the original on January 29, 2013. Retrieved February 3, 2014.
  6. John Lund (November 27, 2012). "The Top Three Keys For Becoming a Color Commentator". Archived from the original on January 16, 2014. Retrieved February 3, 2014.
  7. Kedzie, Julie (July 18, 2013). "Julie Kedzie Breaks Down the Art of MMA Color Commentary". FIGHTLAND. Vice. Archived from the original on April 5, 2015. Retrieved February 3, 2014.
  8. Deitsch, Richard (January 11, 2012). "NFL's most indispensable broadcasting talents". Sports Illustrated. Archived from the original on February 22, 2016.
  9. McCarthy, Michael (September 6, 2016). "Fox NFL rules analyst Mike Pereira is lethal 'weapon' rival networks don't have". Sporting News. Archived from the original on September 9, 2016. Retrieved January 9, 2018.
  10. Caldwell, Dave (January 22, 2019). "Rise of the TV rules analysts shows the NFL has a problem". the Guardian. Archived from the original on January 22, 2019. Retrieved June 16, 2021.
  11. Bucholtz, Andrew (June 3, 2022). "Fox Sports adds Joe Machnik as a soccer rules analyst". Awful Announcing. Retrieved January 18, 2023.
  12. King, Jay. "Ex-NBA referee Steve Javie weighs in on officiating: 'Welcome to the playoffs'". The Athletic. Retrieved January 18, 2023.
  13. "TNT Adds Don Koharski As NHL Rules Analyst | Barrett Media". September 29, 2021. Retrieved January 18, 2023.