Notre Dame football is on NBC for the first time this year. The Fighting Irish are typically pretty proud of its unique arrangement with the major network, but fans are not thrilled today.
NBC is utilizing a new camera called the “Sideline Skycam,” that brings a new, and for some, uncomfortable view of the field. If we’ve learned anything through the years, it is that people do not like having major changes to the way they watch football games.
Notre Dame tested out the camera for the Notre Dame spring game, and for the time being, it sounds like it is here to stay for Fighting Irish home games on NBC.
Fans will likely adjust to it as it becomes the new normal, but for this first run during today’s game against New Mexico, the Fighting Irish faithful and others watching the game are none too happy.
Evidently, NBC was prepared for the backlash.
On Friday, NBC Sports published a lengthy article about the sideline Skycam, explaining the decision to make the change to the new look. In it, NBC Notre Dame writer Doug Farmer clearly anticipated what has been on Twitter today.
The sideline Skycam isn't going anywhere. You don't need to @ me with your complaints.
I like the camera, and if you have some patience, you might too … https://t.co/h8HHNHaFVZ
— Douglas Farmer (@D_Farmer) September 14, 2019
From the post:
It will undoubtedly take most viewers some getting used to, but perhaps not as much as overreactions will indicate. Open minds will see the same perks to a more dynamic primary camera that led “Notre Dame on NBC” producer Rob Hyland to champion the idea in the first place.
“To me, you’re closer to the action,” Hyland said this week while waiting for confirmation the setup of the additional camera system had gone according to plan. “When the play comes to a conclusion, the ability to collapse and move dynamically with that action, you literally feel like you’re right there getting up from the tackle. …
“The ultimate goal is to bring the viewer closer to the action and to get them to the line of scrimmage. The only way to do that is through a camera that travels with the line of scrimmage.”
Hyland, the producer quoted in the article, offers up a few examples of where the new camera was beneficial for NBC in its Week 1 Sunday Night Football broadcast of the New England Patriots vs. Pittsburgh Steelers.
The new view does allow for a close view of every player on the field at times, which has its advantages, and can reveal visuals that other angles don’t allow for.
Hyland admits that there is still a learning curve, and NBC could go away from it when necessary.
“We want to enhance the viewer’s experience and make Notre Dame’s broadcasts unique to better serve the Notre Dame audience,” Hyland said. “The second it doesn’t do that, this camera will not be used as a primary camera.
“… If we get into a down-and-distance or a specific situation that prevents us from doing our job, which is to document the sporting event we’re at, you’re not going to see us using this camera in a live capacity.”
It is far too early to know if this new camera will be around for the long haul, but NBC has certainly invested in it, and you can probably expect it for the foreseeable future.
Notre Dame opened on the road at Louisville, a 35-17 win broadcast on ESPN. The Irish had a bye last week, so this is the first NBC game. Brian Kelly’s team is blasting UNM 59-7 early in the fourth quarter.