In one of the more outlandish additions to a live sports broadcast, Stadium’s new Bally’s Fight Night events are adding fighter health bars to the screen, just like you’d see in a fighting video game.
Seriously! Check out this screencap.
The events are put on by Oscar De La Hoya’s KO Entertainment. De La Hoya talked with The Athletic about what they’re calling “power bars” this week.
“The power bar, you can see the damage taking place, and as a fan … you’re getting excited because the power bar is going higher and higher and higher and you can predict the knockout and the stoppage,” De La Hoya told The Athletic. David Tetreault, executive vice president of media and entertainment for Golden Boy Promotions, brokered the deal with Bally’s.
“People are always confused (about) who’s winning. When you leave it to the judges you never know who will take the victory. … I love it because in a sense you’re actually letting people in and giving them a little sense … of what’s happening inside the ring.”
This seems all well and good, but the health bars also aren’t flawless. For example, I watched the entirety of the Adrian Najera-Trevor Wells fight that I screengrabbed above. The fight went the distance. Najera drained Wells’ health bar (I cannot believe I just typed that) in round one, held a consistent “health” edge in round two, and barely had less health than Wells in round three (the bars fully regenerate each round), but Wells swept the judges’ decision with scores of 30-26, 30-26, and 30-27 across the board. Furthermore, it’s not as if this was some kind of horrible decision from the judges – anyone who was watching would have given the fight to Wells.
So, interesting idea, but KO Entertainment is going to need to get some of the kinks worked out here. It’s not a ringing endorsement of the tech when one fighter dominates the health bar and the other dominates the actual fight.