The way we watch sports is always changing.  30 years ago, a scorebox on the screen at all times would have been unheard of to fans.  20 years ago, you would have never thought that we could some day have a line that shows us where a team needed to advance to for a first down.  10 years ago, small ref cams would be considered too intrusive.  Just last year at this time, the thought of an alternative telecast to break down the game in a film room in real-time was just in the idea phase.

Broadcast innovations are all around us and are constantly transforming the way the games are watched.  Some of them are revolutionary and long-lasting, like the 1st and 10 line.  Some are banished to the dustbin of history, like the glowpuck.

We compiled a panel of our staffers and other experts in sports media to join together for a roundtable discussion.  What’s the next big innovation in sports broadcasting you want to see?  Take a look at the wide range of answers below and leave us your thoughts in the comments below…

Tim Burke (Deadspin): NBA graphic overlays on the court showing shooting percentages for the various zones of individual players as they handle the ball, allowing viewers to tell as the player is shooting whether it’s a high or low percentage shot.

David Rogers: I’d like to see the Ref Cam in hockey become a tool used in every NHL broadcast. Currently, the Ref Cam is only seen in games produced by Rogers and streamed on GameCenter. Though it has only been used sparingly, we’ve already been treated to some unique and fascinating angles which previously went uncovered. The Ref Cam shows off the speed of the game while also taking the viewer closer to the action than ever before. To be blunt, it’s awesome and it does a great job of highlighting the NHL.

Josh Gold-Smith: I’ll take David’s point one step further and say it should be adopted by all sports, but not just for aesthetic reasons. Imagine watching a close play at home plate from the same view the umpire has, or the Fail Mary from the view of the back judge. That’s what NHL viewers have been given with the Ref Cam. It doesn’t just get you closer to the action. It shows you exactly what an official saw on a controversial play, confirming or disproving what they actually called. Having that angle serves a practical purpose. Sure, the officials may not like having their calls questioned, but if they call it correctly, it validates them. It also adds another angle for official reviews and can impact the call itself. Other leagues would serve themselves and their viewers by following suit.

Matt Zemek (The Student Section): We need small upward-looking (mini-) cameras mounted on uprights for field goals in both pro and college football, and on foul poles in baseball. It’s the 21st century. This should not exist beyond the capabilities or budgets of broadcasters in what is a billion-dollar industry.


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