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From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia

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


United Kingdom

In the United Kingdom, the term “co-commentator" or "summariser" is more common than "color commentator."

North America

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 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-speaking countries, the position is known as a comentarista, in opposition to the narrador who describes the action.

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

In some countries, the two-person commentating team is not used. In Germany, most broadcast soccer matches feature a single play-by-play announcer, who is expected to provide background information and statistics by himself. When a two-person commentating team is used (for example often in Motorsport or Winter sport) the second man (normally a former athlete) is called "Experte".

Latin America

For football (soccer) broadcasts, in Latin American television channels are called comentaristas in both Spanish and Portuguese.


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 color 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 color commentary in wrestling. Both Jerry "The King" Lawler and John "Bradshaw" Layfield (JBL) later made successful transitions into those roles, though Lawler has since shown more sympathy for faces (partially due to being over with fans after nearly forty years in wrestling) while JBL has since retired. The former ECW commentators, Tazz and Joey Styles tend to be completely neutral; in addition, both combine aspects of play-by-play with color commentary.

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