In the run-up to the start of a new league racing season, we sat down with league racing commentator George Morgan. We asked him about how to be a good commentator and his favourite moments from behind the mic.
Photo credit: George Morgan
When we tune in to top level league racing, we normally do so to watch the likes of Jarno Opmeer and Bardia Boroumand duel it out. But it would be nothing without the commentators, and the commentating roles are a severely underappreciated aspect of the esports racing experience.
There have been many big names who started out commentating in esports before then moving on to the real deal, the most prominently known example is Formula E commentator Jack Nichols. There have been many league racing commentators who have become prominently known in their own right thanks to their work such as Jessica Ball, GingerAndy and perhaps most prominently, George Morgan.
First coming to the forefront as a commentator for Online Racing League, Morgan has quickly established himself among the best in the business. His infectiously enthuasiastic and refined commentating style strikes a chord with people who tune in every week to follow the best in F1 esports racing.
🚨 This is your one hour warning until the final round of SquadSprint! 🚨— Veloce (@VeloceEsports) April 8, 2021
It’s pole position for @LouisDeletraz and the All Stars ⭐️
🏎 #SquadSprint by @MOBIUZGamingEU
🗓 Every Thursday!
🕐 1 pm GMT pic.twitter.com/mY1ygYEC5Y
Morgan is part of the gaming organisation Comrade Gaming and currently commentates the top tier PC races for both Premier Sim Gaming Leagues and World Online Racing as well as the latter’s top Xbox tier. Not only that, he also commentated for Veloce Esports’ third rendition of SquadSprint.
George was kind enough to take some time out of his hectic schedule to answer some questions we had about him, league racing and commentating.
OverTake: What was your introduction to motorsport and racing games?
Goes a long way back! Back in the mid-90s I suppose was when I got into Formula One and I have my father to blame for that. Every weekend he would sit down and watch F1 on the TV, and my first introduction to it was Damon Hill winning the world championship back in 1996 at Suzuka for Williams and that iconic Williams livery was everything to me back then, it was the car for me.
That same year I actually got a Scalextric set for Christmas with Schumacher’s Benetton and Hill’s Williams, it was incredible. Plus that was an iconic time in motorsport as well, when Michael Schumacher was about to come into his own as well and I would follow him for years.
In terms of gaming, my first racing game was Monaco Grand Prix, and I also had a game called RAC World Rally Championship which was back in 1998, we had a Windows 98 back then so it was really proper old school. You do rally time trial and things like that, I was well on board with that, it was good fun!
Unfortunately, rally is not on top of my motorsport fan list at the moment, I wouldn’t say it’s always been my favourite but it was a great introduction to gaming at that time. When I had my first PlayStation approximately a year or two after, I had Gran Turismo 2, that was my first proper car racing game on a console and that was awesome to just spend day after day playing that game and many did as well, it was a cult classic on the PlayStation.
OverTake: How did you get started in commentating?
I was like any other person on the league scene. I started league racing with a small league called SSR and then I got involved in a league called MWR for their World Cup.
I quickly worked out that my driving wasn’t up to speed with some of the other people, so I said to them (the league directors) if there was anything else I could do. They suggested I be a commentator, so I started commentating the MWR World Cup races. It was a small league, just a group of friends just getting together, I still speak to quite a few of them today.
Even back then in my very first race, the “Pedal to the metal go go go go go!” was my signature start and I still have it to this day. Nothing’s changed!
OverTake: What would you say has been your favourite moment to have commentated on?
I’ve done so many in my time as a commentator but I think the most iconic was Jarno Opmeer in the second-to-last round of PSGL in Australia, his fightback in the dying laps after starting last and managing to get a podium.
It was something that was physically impossible, even if the late safety car worked in his favour. But whilst that’s the case, you still need to have the brain power to make those kinds of decisions and being able to make the most of the opportunities handed to him.
Honestly, the guy is on a different level. For me, it was the most iconic moment in all of league racing, that is when the world I think stopped and noticed what was going on in league racing at that time.
That really brought us a mighty grand finale at São Paulo (between Opmeer and Bari Boroumand). To this day, I watch it back to try and work out how on earth he managed to do that!
🗣️“Sensational”— PSGL (@PremierSimGL) May 22, 2021
A breathtaking final couple of laps from @MercedesAMGF1‘s @jarno_opmeer to ensure he’s the title favourite going into the Brazil PC finale
🎙️ @georgemorgantv & @JackCComs pic.twitter.com/ORL8iY1b91
OverTake: How do you see the league racing scene having evolved over the years, for better and worse?
I’d like to say the majority for the better. I think league racing now is far more inclusive than it used to be, there are so many leagues that are popping up now. It’s great.
This is the whole point. You have your top leagues that have all the top esports talent and it provides inspiration to many and that’s great because we always need new talent to keep the esport evolving and I think that is the key to development going forward.
I think at the moment we are in a very good place, certainly PSGL are doing some amazing things. We have loads of tiers, going from the single tier on PC now up to five which is just extraordinary. WOR are doing exactly the same, they’ve got a big PC tier now for the first time as well as running their many Xbox races as they usually do.
So there are plenty of opportunities for drivers to get involved. Plus you’ve got other leagues such as Invictus, Apex Online Racing, Online Racing League and not to mention loads of others that are starting up and attracting the interest of drivers looking to get involved in racing. From my view, the more racing the better! Let’s try and get more on the screens and more people involved. It’s so accessible, in stark contrast to actual motorsport which goes without saying!
In terms of the negatives, we see social media can have both a positive and the negative effect. It’s important to never dwell on the negatives, because at the end of the day, they’re only there for a split second. It’s important to keep pushing on and find the next thing, but you do have to keep wary of moments where things can go wrong. Touch wood, I say the positives will always outweigh the negatives by quite a lot.
OverTake: As someone who is one of the leading figures in all of league racing commentary, what is the advice you would give to anybody hoping to get their foot in the door and when they actually get behind the mic?
I think the first and very vital ingredient and I say this all the time, passion before fashion. You need to have the passion in order to understand and want to understand the sport, to want to do it.
It’s a huge undertaking because bear in mind you have audiences there who are watching the streams, who are dedicated fans of F1, esports, motor racing, they all understand the inner workings, they want to be entertained. But they need to be entertained by someone who is going to relate their passion onto them, so it’s like a reflection.
When you do get behind the mic, just be yourself. Honestly, that is key. Have your own energy, project your own personal feelings, your own self awareness of the sport, that is so vital. Generally when people are asking if there is something that is stopping them taking it to the next level, it’s because they’re trying to be something they’re not. It’s important to be true to yourself.
The opportunities are endless. I enjoy doing it, I never get filled with dread when I’m about to take on a new commentating spot. I’m like an eager beaver! Anyone who I’ve worked with will tell you, I am relentless.
Another important aspect is preperation. Do your work, know who you’re commentating on, don’t be deterred from engaging directly with the people competing, understand what’s going on. I’m always chatting to drivers, league coordinators, tier admins alike always trying to loop myself in.
Don’t be a stranger when inquiring for information to then relate back to when you’re talking to the audience. All these things you can do as a commentator, it may sound like you’re going above and beyond, but for what we do, I enjoy the process and for me, it all stems back to passion.
George’s euphonious voice will return to your ears for the first race of the upcoming PSGL season when the top PC tier gets going on Thursday at 8pm CEST which you can watch on PSGL’s YouTube channel.
These races will feature an incredible selection of some of the top drivers in F1 Esports, and if you want to read up on our PSGL season preview and why you should tune in, read our article covering it.
Who are some of your favourite esports racing commentators? Tell us on Twitter at @OverTake_gg or in the comments down below!