In a recent discussion on the evolution of sporting technical language, sports commentator for DAZN, Pierluigi Pardo shared his insights with Italian newspaper La Gazzetta dello Sport. Pardo reflected on the changing language use in football, the need for specificity, and balancing statistics with gameplay during broadcasts.
Pardo reminisced about his early career, stating, “During a summer tournament, I struggled to find information on players. Now, everything is easier: we’re overwhelmed with news and curiosities. But managing these during a match, including the use of language, is crucial.”
The language of football broadcasts has drastically evolved, according to Pardo. In this context, Pardo acknowledged, “Football is constantly being discussed. The audience level has grown with people knowing more about international football. Even co-hosts prove more effective in their roles: with them, you can delve into specific and finer technical or tactical aspects.”
Speaking about the technical elements of football broadcasting, Pardo emphasized the need for clarity and approachability in relaying advanced football concepts. He illustrated, “While commenting on a phase of a Juventus-Roma match, it was right to emphasize the impregnability of the Juventus defence. But not all commentaries should be so technical. The same goes for statistics: you prepare hundreds of data points but you only use a handful. The significance of a statistic comes to life only when it is introduced at the right moment of the game.”
Regarding the increasing use of technical jargon in football broadcasts, Pardo believes it has its place “if it aids understanding and isn’t just to show off.”
As a commentator, Pardo acknowledges he has a responsibility in how he uses language, particularly considering his popularity amongst younger fans. “I do feel more of a responsibility to transmit joy and lightness, while also aware that in front of the TV there are often fans suffering for their team, only waiting for a goal and a victory. I try to transmit positive examples, like the level of fair play that I usually see on the field.”
Discussing his dislike for certain terminology, Pardo admitted, “I struggle with terms like ‘braccetto’ and ‘quinti’, and especially in digesting certain old terms, or dated expressions such as ‘risultato a occhiali’, ‘barba al palo’, ‘orobici’, ‘alabardati’, and ‘batti e ribatti’.”
Pardo ended by paying tribute to the legendary football commentator, Nando Martellini. “Nando was a giant. Just like Bruno Pizzul, with whom I have a wonderful relationship. I think Martellini would have been entertained. Each era has its rules and its world. Today’s games with those rhythms and commentaries would be impossible. But when we watch the past major challenges, narrated by exceptional masters like him, we get emotional. It’s part of life and comparisons between eras.”