After the surprising success of NBC’s Skycam look during two games this season, the network is going back to the angle a third time, per John Ourand of Sports Business Journal.
Ourand reports that NBC will use Skycam as its primary angle for next week’s Broncos-Colts Thursday Night Football game. Producer Fred Gaudelli told Ourand that NBC will use the angle on more than half of all plays, cutting to a traditional view for third downs, plays in the red zone and two-minute drills.
“Every down other than those, we decided that we were going to be on the SkyCam,” Gaudelli said. “We were going to commit to the SkyCam to those other plays. It’s probably about 60% of the plays.”
NBC first emphasized the Skycam view, by necessity, in a foggy October 22 Patriots-Falcons game, during which there was no other way to get a clean view of the action. The network went back to the Skycam a few weeks later, utilizing it for the November 16 Titans-Steelers Thursday-night game.
The Skycam clearly comes with pros and cons. It can be visually stunning, it offers a small sense of how difficult and complex the game is, and it’s a nice little change of pace from the sideline angle we’re used to. On the other hand, the Skycam look is not optimal for actually seeing what’s happening in the game. Distance can be hard to gauge, players leave the picture and flags are invisible. Public opinion has been decidedly mixed:
See what QB sees
Where are the receivers? Flags?
1st down line?
Perspective for relative distance
I feel personally attacked
— Nathan R. Petrie (@GottaPetrie) November 17, 2017
I don't understand how you can't like this view. You get to see how the defense unfolds and what the quarterback is seeing in real time. It's marvelous.
— Geoff Schwartz (@geoffschwartz) November 17, 2017
skycam makes it easier to appreciate players' talent and harder to gauge the outcome of every play; guessing neutral observers like it more than fans
— Mina Kimes (@minakimes) November 17, 2017
As our Brad Gagnon wrote last month, “the live Skycam is ideal for those who just want to analyze the game of football, while the classic sideline view is probably better for those who just want to see if Antonio Brown got enough yardage for the first down.”
The Skycam is not likely to take over football broadcasting anytime soon, but it’s apparently not going away. How it is received next Thursday could help determine how often we see it in the future.