Color commentator

Color commentator

A color commentator (color analyst, analyst) is a sports commentator who assists the play-by-play announcer, often by filling in any time when play is not in progress. The color analyst and main commentator will often exchange comments freely throughout the broadcast, when the play-by-play announcer is not describing the action. The color commentator provides expert analysis and background information, such as statistics, strategy and injury reports on the teams and athletes, and occasionally anecdotes or light humor. Color commentators are often former athletes or coaches of the sport being broadcast.


United Kingdom

In the United Kingdom, the term 'color commentator' is unknown; rather the role is called 'summariser', 'analyst', 'pundit' or 'co-commentator'.

United States and Canada

Commentary teams typically feature one professional commentator describing the passage of play, and another, usually an ex-player or manager, providing supplementary input as the game progresses. The color commentator will usually restrict his input to periods when the ball or puck is out of play or there is no significant action on the field and will defer to the main commentator whenever there is a shot on goal or other significant event, sometimes resulting in their being talked-over or cut short by the primary commentator. Additionally, former players and managers appear as pundits, carrying out a similar role to the co-commentator during the build-up to the match, at half-time and post-game. In American motorsports coverage, there may be as many as two color men in the booth for a given broadcast. In addition to the broadcast of the game or event itself, pregame and postgame programs typically feature commentary from one or more analysts.


In Australia, the term is not used; rather, those giving the analysis alongside the commentator are said to be giving "special comments."


In Denmark, Norway and Sweden the term expertkommentator (expert commentator) is used for a knowledgeable sidekick to the play-by-play announcer.

In Spanish and Portuguese-speaking countries, the position is known as a comentarista (commentator), in opposition to the narrador (narrator) who describes the action. Similarly, in Finland kommentaattori is used for the second commentator, and selostaja (explainer) for the main one.

In France, the term is "consultant" in opposition to the "commentateur sportif" (who is also a journalist)

In Turkey, the term "spiker (spEE-ker)" is used for both announcers, who are expected to interchangeably act as the color commentator and the play-by-play announcer.

In some countries, the two-person commentating team is not used as much as elsewhere. In Germany, most broadcast soccer matches feature a single play-by-play announcer, who is expected to provide background information and statistics by himself. If the broadcast is on TV, the commenter will usually not comment on visually obvious things. A two-person commentating team is used more often for sports where understanding of events depends on more subtle visual cues that not everybody might get (for example in auto racing) or when the public is not as familiar with the finer details of the sport as in the case of soccer (for example in winter sport). In those cases, the second man (normally a current or former athlete or coach) is called "Experte".

Latin America

For football broadcasts on Latin American sports television channels, this type of commentator is called a comentarista in both Spanish and Portuguese.

In professional wrestling

Though not always the case, in professional wrestling, the color commentator is usually a "heel sympathizer" (or a supporter of the "bad guys") as opposed to the play-by-play announcer, who is more or less the "voice of the fans" as well as supporters of the "good guys" (or babyfaces). Though both are supposed to show neutral stance while announcing, the colour commentator (especially when they support heels) are usually more blatant about their stance than the play-by-play announcer. Jesse "The Body" Ventura and Bobby "The Brain" Heenan pioneered the "heel sympathizer" for colour commentary in wrestling. Jerry "The King" Lawler later made a successful transition into the role, though Lawler has since shown more sympathy for faces (partially due to being over with fans after nearly forty years in wrestling). In some cases, commentators are also active managers for wrestlers, usually following continuity as heels. Former Extreme Championship Wrestling colour commentator Cyrus was known for having dual roles as a heel manager and a somewhat neutral commentator.

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