NBC’s Sam Flood: Inside the Glass, Once Laughed At, Is Now “the gold standard” for Hockey Broadcasting

NBC Sports Network debuts their Major League Soccer coverage this Sunday, at 3:00 p.m. ET, with FC Dallas hosting the New York Red Bulls, who actually play in Harrison, New Jersey, but whatever. Anyway, that’ll be worth checking out after the Bruins-Penguins game featuring the possible return of Sidney Crosby that afternoon, because NBC is going pretty all-out for their new sport.

In addition to a 15-minute pre- and post-match show hosted by friend of the site Russ Thaler, NBC will also deploy a between-the-benches analyst for MLS coverage in Kyle Martino, similar to how NBC uses Pierre McGuire, Brian Engblom and others for Inside the Glass. NBC held a conference call yesterday to preview the look of the MLS on NBC Sports Network, and network executive producer Sam Flood got in some serious humblebrag about the between-the-benches concept:

“In hockey, we do a majority of our games now with one person up in the booth and one person inside the glass, between the benches. And it works flawlessly. The combination is great. Rather than being five stories above the playing surface, one person supplying the information is right there in real time hearing things. And that’s the key: You’re hearing what’s being said on the bench, inside the field of play, and there’s a huge advantage to that.

“When we launched this in hockey, the Canadians made fun of us and said what a dumb idea. Guess what? It’s the template that everyone uses now in hockey. Hockey Night in Canada has a person inside the glass. TSN has a person inside the glass. So what was first thought of as a whacky idea from Americans turned out to be the gold standard for covering hockey.”

This struck me as interesting, because Flood is correct. Largely, this is how hockey is broadcast nationally in both the United States and Canada. Pierre McGuire claimed last night that being able to stand on the Ducks bench during the 2007 Stanley Cup Final “helped grow the game”. I don’t know if I’d go that far, but in the seventh year of Inside the Glass, it has definitely changed the paradigm of how we see and hear our hockey.


About Steve Lepore
Contact me at stevemlepore@gmail.com

5 Responses to NBC’s Sam Flood: Inside the Glass, Once Laughed At, Is Now “the gold standard” for Hockey Broadcasting

  1. Trent says:

    Of course, ESPN had Barry Melrose at rinkside doing commentary here and there before NBC “came up with the idea”.

    • Stu Dolgon says:

      Doing rinkside commentary is not the same as being between the benches right behind the dasher board and being able to hear and relate bench conversations in realtime.

  2. john says:

    sam floods a regular old jack donaghey (sp?)

  3. Sean says:

    I like the “between the glass” thing but it’s basically a sideline reporter, which has been around for decades, just not for hockey.

    Tony Siragusa on Fox has been playing the Pierre McGuire role for NFL games for a while now, pretty sure he pre-dates McGuire.

    And isn’t usually Emrick & Eddie O in the booth, with McGuire as the 3rd guy? Humblebrags are not flattering.

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