While the game itself was shambolic, the first broadcast of a D.C. United game by Monumental Network was more of a mixed bag. Overall, the production values of the broadcast were rather poor, but the combination of Santino Quaranta and Dave Johnson was a good match that can only get better as the two get more familiar with each other.
To start with the good first, Quaranta and Johnson were very good together, especially when comparing them to past D.C. United broadcast pairings. We all know what we get from Dave Johnson, but Santino Quaranta was noticeably better than in his previous game. He brings good insight into this team in particular and the game in general and, even more importantly, he is not afraid to criticize players and the team when things are not going well. If this pairing can stay together and be Comcast SportsNet's pairing to start next season, it will make watching these games a more pleasant experience.
On the other hand, however, it seemed like Monumental Network needed to take a little time more time preparing for this broadcast. It was supposed to start at 12:45, with 15 minutes of pregame coverage by Quaranta and Johnson. However, that didn't happen: what we did get was 13 minutes of silence followed by Dave Johnson mike checks and the National Anthem being played quietly in the background. They were finally able to get things sorted right at kickoff, but the first 10 minutes featured a number of adjustments to the levels of the two broadcasters. The return from halftime was similarly rough, as you could again hear Johnson whispering something to his producer as the game started back up; however, halftime did feature some excerpts from the rather excellent Monumental FC.
The crowd noise was one of the worst parts of the experience. When it was playing, it sounded like it was being played on a blown out laptop speaker that was being recorded by a bad microphone. However, there were long stretches, especially in the second half, when the crowd noise would just drop out completely and we would be left with just an electric hum as the background noise. Finally, around the 70th minute, the go the crowd noise right as well, and the last 20 minutes were a fairly decent broadcast. The video quality was fairly good, but not as good as a typical MLS Live broadcast.
I am interested to see what Monumental Network will do going forward. If they stay an online network, then its not really an option for D.C. United as a long term partner. However, if they are able to be get a similar amount of carriage before the beginning of the next season (or the season after), they could become a legitimate competitor to Comcast for the right to air United games.
If you were watching on Monumental Network, what did you think?