You’ve seen it. It’s been part of the sports viewing experience for over two decades. It’s the ticker that adorns the bottom of our screens. No matter which one of the the multitude of sports networks you watch, the scroll at the bottom of the screen continues to exist. However, cable news networks are beginning to tinker with the on-air look of the ticker, and perhaps it’s time for the sports networks to the same.

On Monday, MSNBC did away with the scroll.

“We’re removing the scrolling ticker at the bottom of the screen for a cleaner view that puts our reporting more front and center,” the network said in a statement. “As a network, we focus on up-to-the-minute breaking news showcasing our team’s smart reporting and in-depth analysis, and we want viewers to get the best possible experience.”

If you remember when ESPN2 began, it put up a scroll and called it “The Bottom Line.” In fact, there were dedicated fans who watched it for the different fonts and on-air looks. It even has its own Wikipedia page. But as more information is packed onto the screen, whether it’s a sidebar or a scorebug, the screen is getting cluttered. In fact, in this age of double boxes, triple boxes, quadruple boxes, or in an extreme case, a 25-box, it seems refreshing when there’s an actual full screen without any graphics.

Yes, we want to know the scores and the latest information, but it’s getting to the point where we just see the scroll and practically ignore it because we’re used to it. And sometimes you see the end of a scroll and have to wait for the information to come around again, but when there’s a break that interrupts the flow, then you forget what news you were waiting for.

Ever since 9/11, the cable news nets have utilized the scroll and the sports networks have followed suit. During big events, you won’t see the ticker, and during the Super Bowl, you hardly see it at all. But during studio shows and minor events, the scroll is all over the bottom of your screen.

MSNBC has decided to clear the screen and, for news junkies, that might be a relief from all of the clutter. Fox News has also removed it from its daytime programming. Maybe it’s time for sports networks to do the same. Our eyes will be thankful.

About Ken Fang

Ken has been covering the sports media in earnest at his own site, Fang's Bites since May 2007 and at Awful Announcing since March 2013.

He provides a unique perspective having been an award-winning radio news reporter in Providence and having worked in local television.

Fang celebrates the four Boston Red Sox World Championships in the 21st Century, but continues to be a long-suffering Cleveland Browns fan.