Color in Announcing and Fan Interaction Posted on August 25, 2017 at 08:34:57 AM by ArmentA
One of the suggestions from Toby was to hire pro announcers. I think this is a great idea and I wanted to share my experience as announcer.
I had the honor of announcing at Ft Pierce during the 2007 season and that was the most fun I ever had in jai alai and it was by far more fun than being a player. I added color in addition to play by play. I gave the players nicknames and that gave them an identity ("The Beast" Leif, "Dr. O" Orbea, "The Big Unit" Benny, "The French Phenom" Christophe, "The Catching Machine" Aldazabe, "Charlie Hustle" Elordieta, "The Stars were bright" Fernandez). That gave the crowd something to identify the players besides a hard to pronounce name and a number. The coolest thing about that year was that the most popular player on the roster was Rocha. I announced his name with an exaggerated rolling R every time he hit the court "RRRRRRRRRRRRRRRRRRRRRRRRRRocha!" and the fans ate it up (and I know this would have sold some T-Shirts and merch). They would repeat his name in unison after I announced his name. On many occasions when I used to walk around the building some random fan would see me and just say "RRRRRocha!" to me out of the blue. That always bought a smile to my face. Speaking of T-Shirts, Rocha even had a fan club in the dining area every weekend and they would wear custom made "Team Rocha" T-Shirts and hollered his name in unison every time he hit the court. The fans were very energetic, it got them involved in the performance and players loved that, Especially Rocha. He would always play with a little extra fire on those weekends.
Another element I added was to explain strategy and the nuances of the game. I would explain why a player would drop the ball on what would looked like an easy catch ("...not much speed on that throw but the ball had a ton of spin and he could not hold on to it"). I tried to explain how a player would set up finishing a point ("...Danny throws a winning costado carom. He set this shot up perfectly after 3 straight chic chac shots that were saved..."). I tried to blend what we would see from NFL, NBA, MLB game announcers and incorporate some pro wrestling style announcing by "putting the guys over" and making them a little larger than life and at the same time let the audience identify with the boys. For my part, I know that made the performance more enjoyable, entertaining and most importantly it got the fans involved and engaged. And adding a little comedy did not hurt either.
Jai Alai needs more of this to get the crowd involved, excited, reacting and give the sport more personality.
I really wish I would have had the opportunity to continue working this amazing job. As I mentioned it was the most fun I ever had in jai alai in my entire career. Toby was spot on. This is something the sport desperately needs.