Pac-12 football and basketball games have picked up the label of “Pac-12 After Dark” for their late-night kickoffs and tip-offs on East Coast time.
The USC-Utah football game lived up to that nickname Saturday night, when ESPN lost its camera shots in the third quarter of the game.
“That would make it difficult on the viewers,” ESPN analyst Rod Gilmore said in some cutting-edge game analysis of the camera-outage moment.
The cameras went out for several minutes, and that might have been just fine for Utes fans, with USC leading 30-17 and Utah coming up empty again. The game was played in Salt Lake City, so it was not affected by California’s 10 p.m. curfew.
The ESPN broadcast reverted to shots of the announcers, which revealed that play-by-play announcers Dave Flemming and Gilmore were apparently at home calling the game off the telecast. Without the cameras working, they appeared to turn into every other fan, with updates coming via refreshing ESPN Gamecast play-by-play.
A remote broadcast seem like an ideal pandemic adjustment for safety and cost until something like that happens.
“It is hard to televise a football game without cameras, so we’re working on it,” Flemming told the audience.
With no fans in attendance, literally nobody was actually watching the game at that point. And at homes tuned into ESPN, parents of sports fans across the nation were left to explain something called “listening to a game on the radio,” which the broadcast basically became for a stretch on Saturday night.