ESPN is broadcasting the CFL again this year, but they ran into some technical difficulties with it Friday night. With just 33 seconds left on the clock in the fourth quarter of the B.C. Lions-Toronto Argonauts game, with B.C. leading 28-15, the U.S. broadcast (carried on ESPN2 and streaming platforms) crashed to a blue-green screen:
The broadcast then went to commercial, and eventually put up a “experiencing technical difficulties” banner:
The game ended before the technical difficulties were resolved, so a SportsCenter segment came on next, but there were no on-air mentions of the issue, or of the final score of the CFL game:
And the technical difficulties banner was quickly taken down:
ESPN broadcasts TSN’s CFL coverage, but this didn’t appear to be a TSN issue, with no tweets yelling at them about missing the ending. So it may have been a problem with the signal transmission (did it get held up in customs?) or with ESPN’s programmed timer cutting out (that’s apparently what happened when they missed the end of the Grey Cup last year, and that led to a similar blue-green screen, so it may be the case again). A few fans watching in the U.S. weren’t thrilled.
I know I'm the only person pissed that espn lost the cfl tv feed
— Evan Cheney 👀 (@Echeney17) July 1, 2017
— Trevor Koppel (@Tkgamer_oo7) July 1, 2017
In fairness to ESPN, that SportsCenter broadcast was primarily for ESPN News, so the anchors may not have even been informed of what was going on at ESPN2. The CFL game was supposed to transition right into boxing. The second CFL game of the doubleheader, with the Montreal Alouettes facing the Edmonton Eskimos, was airing only on ESPN3, but it started with technical difficulties too:
Fortunately, those were later resolved. And the missed 33 seconds of the first game weren’t a big deal, as no further points were scored, giving the Lions a 28-15 win. But still, this is far from the ideal way to end coverage of a game.