22 It

By Brad Hubbard | @bradhubbard | 6.25.2017


The Canadian Football League (CFL) kicked off its 2017 season with a game between the Saskatchewan Roughriders and the Montreal Alouettes this past Thursday. Unless you are a football fanatic like myself or a Canadian with a vested interest in the two teams on the field, you probably didn’t ever know the game was going on. My hope is that someone at the NFL office or at one of the NFL TV partners was watching so that they could be reminded about an angle that they are missing during their broadcasts. The wide angle or as they call it in America, the ’22’ angle.

Roughriders at Al’s CFL 2017 Opener.

For the uninitiated, the CFL has 3 downs, 12 men aside and unlimited motion. Which means that at least three of the receivers get a head start on their routes before the ball is ever snapped. This requires the TV cameramen to get a wider shot of the field because you don’t know where these guys are going. It’s not a genuine ’22’ angle but you have a better view of what the receivers are doing and how the defense is lined up to defend them.

Why would the NFL or college football widen out the camera shot and show more of the field? Well it could be a source of revenue. Most of us, believe it or not, don’t care about the close up of Tom Brady or the coach on the sideline. We care about how the formation and who is on the field.

The down side is that you may reveal a bunch of empty seats at the stadium caused in no small part by a teams performance and high ticket prices. The upside is that nerdy football fans like myself would pay a fee to get just this angle.

ESPN Megacast during the 2014 National Championship game

The reason why a portion of us would pay for this is that we want to see for ourselves how the defense is lining up, who is coming in and out of the game and have a visual representation of where our team is on the field which let’s guess what our team should or should not do. We don’t want an analyst telling us after the fact or being burden by replays when a team goes without a huddle and we miss the beginning of the next play.

Eventually, having graphics overlay that one could turn on and off would be nice as well. I don’t mean your stats of total yards, etc but a marker on a player so that while viewing the ’22’ angle, a mark or flag can pop up over a player as they come on and off the field which is turned on and off automatically by when they cross the sidelines into the field of play.

While there is a lot of talk about how to improve the in-game experience for fans (none of this talk includes lowering ticket prices or beer mind you), very little is talked about improving the home viewing experience. These are two things could improve the viewing experience immediately. While the graphics overlay may take some doing, it’s hard to believe that having a camera zoom out would be much of a technological feat. Extra costs, I think I pointed out earlier that there are plenty of us who would give you money for this.

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Super Bowl Live Stream: Looks Great But Nothing Innovative

By Brad Hubbard | @bradhubbard

It’s 2015 and you can watch the Super Bowl on just about any device you wanted to. Streaming technology has gotten to a place where people now expect great quality. While all this should be expected, what is new is the fact that you can watch the game without confirming your cable or satellite subscription. 

Super Bowl 49  Live Stream

As you can imagine, the video stream did some big numbers as Streaming Media’s EVP Dan Rayburn tweeted out after the game.

Dan Rayburn Tweet about live stream

Even with that many people, the stream quality was top notch. While this is a lot of people, it is well behind the 5.3 million who watched the USA vs Belgium World Cup match this past summer.

The Super Bowl is a free, over the air event. It would make sense that if the event was streamed (which is was) and that anyone would be able to watch the game online.  NBC thought so too and did not require you to have a cable or satellite subscription to watch the game through NBCSports.com which was a first.

NBC didn’t take full advantage of the live stream though.

There was only a stream of the game. There wasn’t a ’22’ angle or a ‘skycam’ angle. The experience lacked in a lot of ways. They could have done a lot more like ESPN did during the College Football National Championship game but chose not to.

Not only was it a great Super Bowl but it was also a well executed one by NBC. The live stream was of quality, was stable and served the cord cutters. While NBC could have done more with the medium, it at least allowed fans to watch a great event for free.