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ESPN isn’t fazed by your SkyCam criticisms


If there was anything that united college basketball fans during a time of year where postseason posturing and seeding speculation create vast divides, it wasthe ESPN debacle known as the SkyCam.  The SkyCam hit us hard during the Kentucky-Mississippi State broadcast and gave viewers a balanced diet of nausea and fury.  Kentucky athletic director Mitch Barnhart said after the game that he heard your complaints (that’s in his contract) and that the school would no longer approve the camera for their broadcasts.  ESPN?  Well, they don’t seem too ready to give up yet.

In an article in the USA Today (found via Awful Announcing), the Worldwide Leader’s executive vice president, Norby Williamson, offered up some of the same defense a now-reassigned former manager of mine cited after she followed-up on her promises to “make our lives hell”.  From the USA Today:

ESPN last week tried new wrinkles on college hoops, like using an overhead camera as the main camera shot as well as using split-screen coverage showing the game and a shot isolated on a single player. ESPN executive vice president Norby Williamson admitted, “You don’t always get things perfect at first.” He said he liked elements of the shots focused on players. But he said he wasn’t fazed by criticism of the novelties: “You always get negative reaction to change.”

Ahh, yes.  The old “negative reaction to change” argument.  I’d say it’s more of a negative reaction to an awfully unnecessary and distracting change, but Matt wouldn’t let me put “executive vice president” in my title when we switched the blog over.  So, instead, I’ll just have to take Mr. Williamson’s word for it – though I’d assume a change away from SkyCam probably would get the opposite of a negative reaction. 

One technological masterpiece we can all agree on though is the Kentucky Sports Radio podcast.  If you missed this morning’s show, you missed Seth Davis facing the music on the KSR-Sports Junkies feud and the guys talk John Pelphrey, Rotnei Clarke, Trevor Lacey and angry Duke fans.  Give it a listen below.

Article written by Thomas Beisner

29 Comments for ESPN isn’t fazed by your SkyCam criticisms

  1. BigBlueSwami
    4:40 pm February 22, 2011 Permalink

    Skycam would be excellent for breaking down plays on replay. Great innovation, wrong application.

  2. tyson
    4:40 pm February 22, 2011 Permalink

    I know what change WOULD NOT receive negative criticism– a KSR website update!

    Love you guys though (nohomo)

  3. Just saying
    4:43 pm February 22, 2011 Permalink

    anything ESP can do to create a Duke-like viewing scenerio. The announcers sit in the rafters at Camaron Indoor, and now ESPN wants to take that viewing experience to all of sports. What would we ever do without Duke?

  4. Pants Cam
    4:49 pm February 22, 2011 Permalink

    I’m going to be used this weekend at the UL game.

  5. Jack
    4:51 pm February 22, 2011 Permalink

    I have to admit, I liked the SkyCam and suspect that so did a lot of other folks. Yes, the first couple times were a little dicey but I got quickly got used to it and, when pulled back to more of a panorama view, you can definitely see things develop better than other views. Most interesting, I thought, was a better understanding of the precision of the timing that certain plays were executed with. In fact, I’m not sure that UK’s quick ban wasn’t because the SkyCam revealed a little too much information. What I’d really like to know is: did they or, do they plan to, install one for their own use.

  6. Badgercat
    4:51 pm February 22, 2011 Permalink

    I don’t have a problem with the skycam. I didn’t like it for the live action (No perspective on elevation). However I think its use in replays and analysis such as: transition breaks, zone defenses, controversial plays, strategic strengths and weaknesses, etc. would be informative and helpful to fans.

  7. Daggumit Larry
    4:55 pm February 22, 2011 Permalink

    If UK fans wrote down all the corporations who pay for commercial time during ESPN college basketball games and contacted them to tell them they won’t watch ESPN games any longer because of the Sky Cam, I’ll bet his attitude would change.

  8. Kenny Powers
    4:56 pm February 22, 2011 Permalink

    Skycam sucks my gloriously large testicles.

  9. ukcatfan
    4:59 pm February 22, 2011 Permalink

    espn suck !

  10. T
    5:01 pm February 22, 2011 Permalink

    Skycam is terrible for play by play action.

  11. Nassau65
    5:04 pm February 22, 2011 Permalink

    Skycameth Sucketh.

  12. Jason
    5:16 pm February 22, 2011 Permalink

    “One technological masterpiece” Bollocks! Maybe your podcasts would be if they worked. So annoying to have to download the pod casts several times a day and still only get half the show. Makes my work day even more hellish.

  13. coack K
    5:18 pm February 22, 2011 Permalink

    I SUCK. DUKE SUCKS. Skycam really SUCKS!!!

  14. Lex07
    5:26 pm February 22, 2011 Permalink

    Skycam sucks donkey dongs for live action. For limited use in replays, it could possibly work. But they would have to quit moving it around so much. It needs to sit still.

  15. The Dykster
    5:51 pm February 22, 2011 Permalink

    They can stick their skycam in Bobby Knight’s rear.

  16. Michael
    6:09 pm February 22, 2011 Permalink

    The still photo of skycam is making me sick to my stomach.

  17. Big D
    6:10 pm February 22, 2011 Permalink

    I still have an upset stomach.

  18. secretagent0014
    6:16 pm February 22, 2011 Permalink

    The skycam was as awesome as Pepsi Clear!

  19. Jesus saved my soul
    6:20 pm February 22, 2011 Permalink

    One thing is for certain, ESPN will lose a viewer if they ever pull out that camera again. I’ll turn it off and listen to Leach call the game before I watch that crap again.

  20. LexDunk
    6:33 pm February 22, 2011 Permalink

    It’s like watching a security camera. The wide angle lens distorts the image. Why watch in HD if they are going to do this? I agree with #1 that it would be best used for instant replay.

  21. Harley Wells
    6:35 pm February 22, 2011 Permalink

    Just looking at that picture makes me cross-eyed.

  22. Truth
    6:43 pm February 22, 2011 Permalink


  23. Norby Williamson
    6:53 pm February 22, 2011 Permalink

    Knee-jerk reactions are for IDIOTS !!!! I WIN!!! Long Live SkyCam!!!!

  24. mmd
    6:53 pm February 22, 2011 Permalink


    Thanks for contacting ESPN.

    The use of varying camera angles is part of a larger weeklong initiative to give fans different perspectives of coverage via new and innovative production techniques and enhancements. While some fans are enjoying the different perspectives, we realize that some are not. We will be sure to provide all of the feedback we receive to our Producers for their review.

    ESPN Viewer Response

    their response to my feedback.

  25. bigbluecats350
    7:41 pm February 22, 2011 Permalink

    the only thing the skycam would be good for, is for coaches to break down game film to break down plays. all u were looking at were the tops of peoples heads and in that view it made me, and im sure most people, sick because it made the action appear to be moving much faster and harder to keep up with. a view that was more behind players rather than above could be better

  26. Greg Hilbert
    9:11 pm February 22, 2011 Permalink

    I’m not sure if anyone has commented on what I’m about to, but back in the mid 80s one of the big 3 networks featured the skycam for at least one game. UK vs. NC State. 1985 or 1986. Someone with more time can research that one, but it has already come and gone before. Personally I like it alot more than some of the other onscreen changes in the last 25 years. For a changeup, I think it was kinda cool.

  27. Winston Bennett
    10:28 pm February 22, 2011 Permalink

    Can I rent SkyCam for my bedroom?

  28. 2020
    10:32 pm February 22, 2011 Permalink

    Biggest pet peeve… ESPN zooms out during a half-court set to show the offense + the first 15 rows in the stands. They do it all the time to show how rowdy the Miss St or Georgia fans are when UK comes to town. Yet the players look tiny. I bought a large screen so I COULD SEE THE ACTION BETTER, not so you could zoom out and show me what Engelbert and his mother are doing in row J.

  29. Maesh
    8:58 am February 23, 2011 Permalink

    To ESPN: You also get rampant negative criticism when your product actually sucks.