Tuesday’s Michigan-Ohio State basketball game featured two squads needing wins to stay in contention for NCAA tournament berths, not to mention arguably the nation’s best college rivalry, but ESPN decided viewers deserved more. And by “more,” I mean “a new camera angle that brought few benefits while obscuring many important plays.”
Yes, the Wolverines-Buckeyes tilt featured what the Worldwide leader described as a “Floor Seat” treatment,” one in which “viewers will get a close-up and personal look at the speed, physicality and skill from the highly-competitive players.” What viewers also got was a close-up look at the backsides of players and referees close to the cameras, often combined with a very poor look at whatever was happening near the baskets, which is usually, you know, important.
Every jump shot is like its own mini trivia game: Did this Zak Irvin shot go in? pic.twitter.com/P25SH2m7Ta
— Alejandro Zúñiga (@ByAZuniga) February 17, 2016
For some reason, ESPN is broadcasting a game from this camera angle. USC, UCLA are both on ESPN networks this week. pic.twitter.com/RaXnU41q91
— Zach Helfand (@zhelfand) February 17, 2016
Remarkably, ESPN never deviated from this unorthodox approach throughout the game. Predictably, that led to much Internet outrage.
Hey @espn, this camera angle is your worst idea yet.
— Chris Burke (@ChrisBurke_SI) February 17, 2016
This ESPN camera angle actually eliminates sight of the basketball. What an idiotic decision.
— Tony Gerdeman (@GerdOZone) February 17, 2016
My mom was apparently ahead of her time. She had the same camera angle as ESPN at all my high school basketball games.
— Degenerate T-Bone (@DegenerateTBone) February 17, 2016
If you ever wanted an obstructed-view seat for OSU-Michigan, you can cross that off your Bucket List after this abomination
— Bruce Hooley (@BHOOLZ) February 17, 2016
— stacy evans (@Big_Stac) February 17, 2016
Wait, the low-camera angle is so we can appreciate the speed of the game? Ohio State is 168th in tempo. Michigan is 305th.
— Jeff Eisenberg (@JeffEisenberg) February 17, 2016
And there were plennnnnnnnnnty more where those came from. Some wondered why ESPN couldn’t have chosen to run the experiment on one of its many other stations, such as ESPNU, while other complaints included the distracting, herky-jerky nature of the camera work.
That Ohio St.-Michigan broadcast was like the "Blair Witch Project" of college basketball coverage. Need some migraine medication now.
— MarkMaske (@MarkMaske) February 17, 2016
Also not thrilled at the innovation? One of the ESPN camera operators at the game, to judge from a reporter for the Michigan student newspaper.
She told me that she's sure fans are "blowing them up" on Twitter…I assured her that they were.
— Kelly Hall (@KellyHall20) February 17, 2016
Other than that, the “floor seat” treatment was a roaring success. Oh, and Ohio State beat Michigan, 76-66, so the telecast was truly a painful experience for Wolverines fans.
(H/T Awful Announcing)