History used to a great effect
By DONAL SCULLY
A TO Z of Sport, showing on PRIME is a simple but effective idea for a series.
Using grainy old film footage it does the ABC of a particular sport each episode.
Soccer, cricket, horse racing and, yesterday, motor racing have all featured.
It works as great memory-jogger for fans and equally well as an introduction for the uninitiated.
Purists may complain at the omission of certain great figures and events but a high degree of selectivity is necessitated by the alphabetical format.
And someone should tell the scriptwriters that the women's liberation movement is long-established so they can stop making condescending comments along the lines of 'ladies' days gave the girls a chance to dress up' in the horse racing show.
THIS week's live NFL games give airings to some of the league's lesser lights.
Today on ESPN at 9 am the less-than-average Saints take on the expansion Carolina Panthers. And it's the Saints again on PRIME at 1 am next Monday against the poor-but-improving New England Patriots.
On Friday at 9 am the ordinary New York Giants clash with the appalling Arizona Cardinals.
The only highly-ranked team to feature this week are the Oakland Raiders who face the declining San Diego Chargers tomorrow at 10 am on ESPN.
PRIME begin showing highlights from the Spanish and German soccer leagues this week. The half-hour programmes air back to back from 11 pm on Friday.
ESPN's English Premier League clash (3.55 am tomorrow) features Nottingham Forest v Manchester United.
PRIME are also late entries to the NBA with their live Game of the Week, starting on Sunday at 9.30 am with Phoenix v San Antonio. ESPN, who have already been showing games since the season began, have two games - Charlotte v Milwaukee on Wednesday at 9 am and Dallas v Atlanta at 9 am on Saturday. RACE fans were let down yesterday as no local channels showed the Japan Cup race from Tokyo.
Hong Kong, famed for it's obsession with racing and gambling, had a locally-owned entry in the race in the shape of Danewin. And this is the world's richest race, paying US$1.7 million to the winner.
Surely those were all the ingredients needed to attract an audience.
But perhaps the most important ingredient was missing - a lack of betting opportunities.