A lot of teams have been announced in this year’s Forza Racing Championship Invitational Series 2019. Round 1 begins 21 September, with the finals taking place 23-24 November. As the three man teams and coaches are being announced there is a part of this years Forza RC that I think is being overlooked: the Commentary Team. If you’ve never been apart of the hubbub that is the FRC it’s easy to just gloss over those giving expert analysis and filling the dead air with commentary. But I think this is going to be one place that Forza, still new in the eSports scene, outshines all other eSports commentary. Let me introduce you to the team that is currently announced to fill the broadcast booth for this years Forza RC Invitational.
In the Pits
Pit Lane reporting is one of the coolest parts of motorsports and we get that kind of service with the FRC, as well. Katie Osborne, host of PowerNation TV on the History Channel & NBC Sports, returns to offer her commentary services. You might also recognize her as one of the reporters on Mecum Auctions that also airs on NBC Sports. Last year, Kate would scour the chat for questions to ask during the live streams, bringing the viewers into the commentary. With sim racing, you get to be a bit more personal with the audience and Katie makes sure that those watching on Mixer & Twitch can have input. Another notable female name in the commentary is Shea Adam, who joined IMSA Radio in 2015 and acted as a pit lane reporter. While neither her role nor Katie’s, has been revealed, its this writer’s assumption she will be reporting alongside Katie in the same capacity. Charlie Martin, British GT driver has also announced she is working with the FRC 2019 but her role hasn’t really been shared. Hopefully, we learn more about her role before Round 1 begins.
At the Desk
We see the return of Aaron “Mellish” Martin & Alie Tacq, two commentators who made big strides with YMTV as commentators. YMTV is a collective of the community teams that are in the Forza Motorsport community. YMTV focused on broadcasting the top drivers in the many Forza community race leagues, such as TORA, AOR, & Delta Online, just to name a few. It makes sense that the FRC team saw their influence and their streams tend to draw large numbers from a very niche community. Their hard work continues to payoff because Alie Tacq became a Content Coordinator at Forza Motorsport and the Forza RC. Alie is easily one of the most memorable commentators of the FRC with his insight and his banter is infectious. He makes even the tensest situations easier with his witty demeanor and colorful commentary. With Mellish, you get this really astute commentary where he is helping you understand the upcoming race and the challenges or even breaking down the dreaded contacts and inevitable wrecks we are privy to in competitive racing. Both these men have made big strides in the Forza community and helping to move the comp scene into an even more serious eSport with their superb commentary and driver insight. I don’t think we can have the FRC without these YMTV stars shining on drivers, who over the years, have been talked about and commentated on by these two guys right here.
Forza Community Manager Brian Ekberg aka Mechberg returns as an FRC broadcaster. Mechberg is also known to host Forza Fridays and has a very respectful following. Last year he helped fill in a lot of the dead air during some of the more trying adjudication periods. I hope we get to hear more from Brian this year because his inside knowledge tends to be spot on and diplomatic. And we cant talk YMTV commentary without also talking about THR Flipmode who has become the face of YMTV in the last couple years. He joins the commentary booth this year and his talent alongside the other YMTV commentators shows how community-driven the FRC is becoming. A third of the commentary are well-known figures of the Forza Motorsport community and that can bring in faithful viewers and fans who are just as passionate as real-life motorsports fans. Flipmode has been doing a lot in the last 18 months and to see him added to the FRC for 2019 is promising and hopeful that, as Wes Eckhart, FRC Lead Producer put it, “We really want to learn from what we do and improve… the competition.” When you add commentary like this, Wes, competition becomes other eSports commentary.
With the first round of eight starting 21 September and the conclusion 8 weeks later, I think the action on the track will be intense and the commentary will be spot on. With Katie O interacting with the viewer chat to Alie making his obvious choice of his favorite in the race to watch. We get community content creators working with real-life motorsports commentators and reporters, bridging the gap of the virtual motorsports and their real-life counterparts. It’s exciting to see the Forza Motorsport franchise get more involved in eSports and to really put together one of the best commentary teams of any eSports organization out there. You can also expect some surprise guests from the motorsports world. I don’t have an inside track on who it could be but FRC loves to bring in fan favorites from both the commentary world and race world. As excited as I am for the racing, I’m truly eager to see the production levels of this year’s broadcast team. Last year was my first FRC and it won’t be my last. And it wasn’t the action on the track but the amazing talent they have assembled to bring us a professional eSports package that’s truly ahead of the others who are well established in the eSports scene.
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