Let's be real about it: hockey sucks on television, and it's probably one of the main reasons why it's not as popular as it could be in the United States.
The game is hard to follow and the rules can be complex and hey where's the puck and holy crap they're going fast and what are all these line changes oh my goodness I'm just gonna go watch Seinfeld re-runs instead. The excitement you feel in-person at an NHL game just doesn't come through on the typical television broadcast.
Then by contrast there's the NFL. Perfect for television. It's broken into like 400 bite-sized chunks over the course of three or four hours. You get detailed replays and explanations of every single play. It's absolutely terrible in person for much of these same reasons -- you find yourself sitting on your hands for most of the game listening to Miley Cyrus blaring through the PA system -- but it's flawless on TV.
So with that said, I'm all for changing things up and trying to find some dang innovation in the ways we watch hockey on television. It needs some spice. High definition helps, but it's not a cure. Other camera angles have been introduced -- such as the one behind the net on the power play -- but they don't tend to fix the big problems with hockey on TV.
(Personally, if we want to rethink how hockey is broadcast, we should add more microphones and give viewers more sights and sounds from ice level. That'd be a game-changer.)
NBC Sports Network and the local Comcast SportsNet affiliates in Philadelphia, Washington, Chicago and San Jose have been playing around with this new thing called the "SkyCam" during broadcasts this fall. It'll be used in tonight's national broadcast of the Flyers vs. Blackhawks game. Here's a glimpse:
Tonight an innovative aerial camera system known as SkyCam will be tested at the Wells Fargo Center. Learn more... https://t.co/ectlBbDW1R— Philadelphia Flyers (@NHLFlyers) October 14, 2015
This is cool and everything, but watching it during live play is pretty vomit-inducing. Those problems I talked about above with hockey on TV? That the game is too hard to keep up with? They're only compounded by this camera, which provides a cool birds-eye view of the action but adds too much movement to an a game that's already in constant, fluid motion. It's like sitting in the stands at a hockey game, but your stadium seat has been replaced by a Tilt-A-Whirl.
My opinion: I don't want to see this camera used during live play. Use it for replays -- it could be particularly cool on breakaways and during transition play -- and highlight packages, but it's just too hard to follow along with during live play.
How do you like this camera, and are you excited to see it used tonight in the game vs. Chicago?