Raising the bar: Hurdler Sally Pearson provided some intrigue.

Raising the bar: Hurdler Sally Pearson provided some intrigue. Photo: James Brickwood

While it's an annual - and generally sleepless - pleasure to sit back and witness some of the world's best sportsmen and women strut their stuff through the northern hemisphere summer, it's become increasingly difficult to have such passion for, and even interest in, the Commonwealth Games, the latest four-yearly instalment of which concluded this week in Glasgow.

Host broadcaster Network Ten did the best it could, through its coverage on its primary channel, digital OneHD or online, and the farcical spat between sacked team athletics coach Eric Hollingsworth and Sally Pearson provided some extra spice and a boost in ratings. But it is hard to argue that a so-called world-class competition not featuring the US, China, Russia and Japan is, indeed, world class.

It would be a bit like Sydney and Hawthorn pulling out of the AFL this season, with the premier then claiming it was still the best team.

When Ten's Leisel Jones asked swimmer James Magnussen whether he could afford to be in a more relaxed mood in Glasgow given it was not the Olympics, she reinforced the general feeling about the Commonwealth Games. When Usain Bolt, the Games' glamour athlete, reportedly told The Times the Games were "a bit shit", the feeling was rammed home.

Through this prism, it's not hard to see why there has not been any interest shown yet by local broadcasters in the 2018 Games, despite these being held on the friendly shores of the Gold Coast.

The Olympics, naturally, have always been of greater importance but when even host commentators and athletes talk down what was once dubbed the Friendly Games, some of the air is taken out of breathless daily reports of Australia dominating the medal table.

Sports fans are now accustomed to watching the world's best at the flick of a switch. Before pay TV and the internet, it was much more difficult to do so, particularly when some networks 'warehoused' certain events or provided only limited coverage. Now, it's a feast. This has contributed to the Commonwealth Games losing its lustre of the 1970s and 1980s because the event does not feature all of the world's best athletes.

Some will argue that it was worth tuning in because Australia was so strongly represented and, typically, did so well. That's also the belief of executives from other networks. Channel Nine, for instance, wants our cricketers to not only do well but to crush the opposition, especially in an Ashes series. The pleasure of a 'kill' outrates even a knife-edge result. The difference there, though, is that the Ashes rivalry remains cricket's greatest.

For its part, Ten's commentary - both from commentators in Glasgow and those calling from booths in Melbourne - was solid, although the live interview crosses from the Glasgow studio to reporters and athletes in the field were, at times, awkward.

Ian Thorpe was a strong addition to Ten's team when discussing swimming nuances - although his wardrobe could have been smarter. Jones is also a talent but did not need to mention how "tough" it was interviewing swimmer Christian Sprenger, her friend, as he struggled with injury. As a swimming expert, her job is to deliver the straight news.

Two long-time bugbears of Olympics and Commonwealth Games coverage are the number of advertisements, and short grabs of events outside of the pool, track and velodrome.

Regular advertisements are a necessary evil but this again meant chunks of individual and team matches were missed, particularly frustrating during the exciting pool group netball clash between Australia and England. To Ten's credit, at least it was possible to go back and watch a full replay on its Tenplay website.

But it was annoying when needless interviews with medallists were done 24 hours later at the expense of live sport. Again, Tenplay was handy in this instance. Hopefully Seven will have a similar set-up come the 2016 Rio Olympic Games.

The time difference meant Ten maximised use of its OneHD through the day with replays of the previous night's events. Again, hopefully Seven will do the same.

Ten was happy overall with its solid ratings in Glasgow, having stumped up $30 million for the rights six years ago. It provided exposure to the network's news and key shows Family Feud, The Bachelor and The Project.

But will it be keen to be involved again in four years' time, particularly as there will be an opportunity to grab a slice of AFL and NRL rights in the meantime? It's a debate all networks continue to have.