Tuesday, January 16, 2007

ESPN Champs Bowl Half Time Coverage Disappointing

ESPN(C-2006) Bands Take the Field During Champs Bowl Half Time in Orlando, Florida*

After several weeks I still can not understand why ESPN only aired about twenty seconds of the 2006 Champs Bowl half time field presentation. Somewhere down on that football field (see photo above) is my daughter, and I like thousands of viewers across the country tuned in just to see the bands play at half time. I am highly disappointed with ESPN's approach toward broadcasting the various bowl games. ESPN all but ignores the half time stadium entertainment in favor of talking heads.

Sending my daughter to Orlando for Christmas break cost the family around a thousand dollars. She had a great time at Universal City, but the Champs Bowl was our big chance to see our daughter on national television (albeit cable). We watched the entire broadcast, and enjoyed the game, but in all honesty I watched it for one reason - for the small possibility of seeing our daughter, or perhaps one of her band mates down on the field.

She sent back several photos, and videos which she captured with her cell phone, but I was hoping that ESPN would air a few minutes of the hundreds of band members playing at half time. The bands were representing high schools from around the nation. The event was a "big deal" to the kids, the schools, the parents, and relatives, and friends who tuned into ESPN just to catch a glimpse. I'm guessing tens of thousands of viewers were watching just for that reason alone.

Instead of giving any airtime to the bands what ESPN telecast were talking heads. ESPN seems committed to a tired 1970's format on half time telecasting. The cameras in the studio gave us exciting high definition color of the sportscasters good looking faces. When that wasn't enough there was the prerecorded snippets of games, and news about golf. I kept waiting for the video portion of telecast to switch over for a few shots of the bands, but it never happened until the final remaining seconds of half time.

My guess is that ESPN would rather see their own talking heads on the screen than anything else. Things need to change at ESPN. We are after all living in the age of broadband.

My belief is that with broadband at the price it is at, and constantly falling, that it would be easy to sell live feeds right off the ESPN nodes at the stadium so that viewers could pick, and choose which cameras they wanted to watch real time, and right over the Internet.

The cost to ESPN would be minimal, and they could could sell advertising on the ESPN website to finance the whole operation. Who wouldn't want to virtually look into the stands to see family members, watch the band, or other half time presentations, visit the locker rooms to listen to the coaches speak, or even a show up at a tail gate party? So many games begin to drag on, or become lopsided that it seems only sensible to give fans alternative means of maintaining interest. ESPN needs to look toward the future of stadium entertainment instead of holding onto the past. Fans need to be offered a more holistic experience of the sporting event in this Internet age.

The types of changes I believe must take place might not sit too well with the talking heads at ESPN, but it will offer ESPN, and other sports broadcasters new ways of generating, and maintaining interest in the events they telecast, and in so doing will generate additional revenue for ESPN.

The Photo above is a copyrighted image of an ESPN broadcast which I screen captured. Several of the grainy blips are presumably of South East Springfield High School Band Members.

*ESPN Image used through Free Use exception as part of a critique of the ESPN production.


Anonymous said...

opiemI really hope espn shows the halftime program , I have a grandchild in the George County band, from Lucedale, Ms. And we are very proud of this group of kids.
Wanda Holland ,Leakesville,Ms.

Anonymous said...

and the same story this year. i'm one of those parents who tuned in for a glimpse and the best we got was a maybe green uniformed band member assembling on the sideline with a minute left in the half. If anyone finds video or pics let us know. We'll be watching YouTube and such in coming days in hope.

email jp

  • jeromeprophet@gmail.com





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