Getting some sports graphics out of the way before NBA season starts

The last time we talked about sports graphics, I noticed that by going widescreen, ESPN was able to attach statistics to the side of their baseball box rather than have it pop in and out, in a move reminiscent of something TNT had been trying with their NBA coverage. I wondered if that meant all of ESPN’s sports would move to the box, seeing signs of the potential of this everywhere.

Sure enough, when college football season started it came with a new graphics package… that was essentially a smaller, streamlined version of the previous banner using the same design as baseball for statistics display.

(By the way? Not a fan of the way ESPN is transitioning into replays that it introduced during bowl season.)

However, ESPN may be making some more modest, but still interesting, changes. The display of statistics during college basketball games uses a different color scheme and font than the other two sports, perhaps trying to be more in line with the graphics that don’t have to fit the general package. Also, ESPN has added an indicator for whether a team is in the bonus or double bonus below the score, next to the timeout indicators, almost daring CBS, Turner, and all their competitors to keep up.

Meanwhile, Monday Night Football decided to go in a completely different direction for its graphics package. Structurally, it’s the same, but if it weren’t for the ESPN logo you’d never guess it was an ESPN production. The display of stats even abandons the whole two-line scores-and-stats-in-the-same-space gimmick ESPN’s been pushing, aside from getting rid of the banner.

Turner continued the trend of graphic standardization when the baseball postseason hit, with a few extra, in my view unnecessary, flourishes.

CBS has finally started rolling out the style of their NFL banner and go-to-break score display of the last two seasons to other sports and their other graphics. It seems a little jarring for college sports, where the type seems a little small, and feels a little dark for statistics graphics and on-field down-and-distance indicators (and cramped in the former case). Also worth noting that the go-to-break score display for college football is very different from the NFL one, and bears more than a passing resemblance to the one used in the NCAA tournament.

Meanwhile, the college basketball graphic is basically a tweaked version of the previous one, with not much done to make it look any more like the March Madness graphic. And the go-to-break graphic has its own differences from the college football graphic. Is sport differentiation all the rage now? Is Turner going against the grain?

The most obvious change to Fox’s NFL graphic is to make the timeout indicators even more naturally integrated by extending them into bars. Later in the season Fox also changed how it indicated which team has the ball, making it more visible, but I prefer the old way. I think there’s also something else different about this box. Is it me, or is it darker? Also, Fox has moved its scoreboard from the Fox Sports logo to a ticker at the bottom of the screen, allowing them to include more info, such as statistics and score alerts.

It looks for all the world like Fox will go the logo-only route only for the NFL, although abbreviations look different for college football than they do for MLB, looking lighter.

Can’t say I’m a fan of how Fox adapted their college basketball banner to the new graphics package.

Versus’ new graphics package is basically NBC’s package with the NBC logo replaced with the Versus logo. Yes, for both college football and hockey. I’m really surprised at the latter; I would expect the rebrand to come complete with a new graphics package, especially considering the logo is changing as well. But it’s occuring at an odd time, when NBC has its Wild Card Saturday slate of games. It’s just kind of odd that Versus would change its graphics package for the four months it has left before it becomes NBC Sports Network, complete with the Versus logo substitution.

I’m surprised that CBC went as all-out as it did on its new graphics package.

“Root Sports” finally got around to getting its own graphics package. Honestly, parts of it make it look a little second-rate. But I do have to admit, their timeout indicators are better than most.

And finally, we end at a look at the new graphics for the ACC Network, formerly Raycom, which moves to a box and a weird logo shape and effect for touchdowns. The timeout indicators aren’t ideal, but they aren’t too intrusive.

There. That should tide us over for a few more months, shouldn’t it?

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