Turner Sports is having a first go at broadcasting the Champions League in the U.S. Its first week came with mixed reviews (mostly negative), but a bizarre TNT Champions League outage in the first half of the Manchester United-Valencia match on Tuesday was by far the worst transgression as a broadcaster of the Champions League.
Manchester United welcomed Valencia to at Old Trafford on Tuesday. The match started late because United’s bus got stuck in traffic (what?), so as the rest of the Champions League matches went to halftime, the one in north England was still ongoing.
But that didn’t stop TNT from fucking things up.
At 41:34 in the first half of the Man U-Valencia game, TNT had about 15 seconds of dead air.
Eventually, studio host Kate Abdo appeared with the tail end of a cut-off promo for the halftime show before (after a few more seconds of dead air) TNT went to commercial.
It took more than a minute (two full commercials) for TNT to realize the Man U-Valencia match was still going on before TNT returned to the match at the 43:03 mark, meaning fans missed about 90 seconds of match time because of the gaffe.
Fans were understandably not happy.
Did TNT/ @brlive just cut to commercial with 5 minutes left in the half? Are they drunk? What the f*ck kind of bush league coverage is this? Such a god awful @ChampionsLeague partner for coverage in America.— Cass Anderson (@casspa) October 2, 2018
Why did TNT go to commercial for halftime with three minutes + stoppage time to go before halftime???— laura mcfayden (@lauramcfayden) October 2, 2018
Can we get @ChampionsLeague off of @tnt?— Ricky LaFleur (@Nixkoo) October 2, 2018
wyd??? @TNT— Christopher (@ChrisWrighteous) October 2, 2018
Can TNT please get it together. Geez— yj11209 (@yj11209) October 2, 2018
TNT is absolutely the best when it comes to @NBAonTNT but their Champions League coverage is sooooo bad! Cuts to commercial 5 mins before the half is even over!— Jacob Porada (@JacobPorada) October 2, 2018
TNT showing commercials before a game is at halftime. Turner stinks.— Ken. (@EarlCrewneck) October 2, 2018
Fortunately, it doesn’t appear too much happened for the 90+ seconds the match was away — this was a match with Jose Mourinho involved, after all. But we’d definitely prefer to watch Man U’s back line kick the ball around than FIFA 19 and Walmart commercials.
Maybe TNT had the strength to do what Mourinho could only dream of doing: pull the plug on Manchester United. Maybe that's why the United bus was delayed?
(As an aside, how does this happen somewhat often in European football but never in American sports? When was the last time you saw an NFL game delayed because of traffic?)
The Man U-Valencia match went to halftime scoreless, but TNT never really gave any explanation for absurdly going to commercial in the middle of a match, which is really a cardinal sin for a broadcaster.
At least we didn’t have to watch Heidi?