Not visible: the player with the puck. (Photo credit: Chris Gordon)
On Friday night, Verizon Center debuted its new “skycam,” the first such camera permanently installed at an NHL and NBA building. Now it appears the expensive device may not be so permanent. A CSN Washington spokesman told RMNB the camera will not be in place for the next Capitals home game. It received a deluge of criticism from fans.
“The product was being tested last night and is not scheduled to be used Sunday,” Brian Potter, the director of communications for the channel, said in an email. “It hasn’t yet been determined if it will be used further. Many factors will be considered, including feedback from fans.”
The expensive device was a joint effort by CSN Washington, part of NBC Sports, and Monumental Sports and Entertainment, which owns the arena as well as the Capitals and Wizards. The camera was hyped as a major innovation in television coverage and was slated to be used for all Capitals and Wizards games, according to a pregame announcement. Once it was operational, however, it became a major annoyance for many fans in the upper bowl, with the camera often partially blocking game action. It was also irritating to some who watched on television, including one Caps player, who complained the angles were awkward and difficult to follow.
“It impacted our ability to track the puck movement and the players,” Sam Wolk, better known as the Horn Guy, said. “It was an unwelcome distraction at best and an infuriating obstruction at worst.”
Sports franchises are increasingly driven by television revenues rather than ticket sales. For those watching at home, the camera provided a different perspective, often following the play down the ice. But that movement was irritating in the arena, with the camera blocking shots and saves at various points in the camera. Monumental majority owner Ted Leonsis was at times chewed out by fans as he roamed the arena to gage fan reaction. The operator was more aggressive as the game went along, trying to zone in on the exciting conclusion to the game. That’s great if you’re sitting in Frederick, but it turned many center ice seats, once some of the best in the house, into a $75 obstructed view.
What do you guys think?
Russian Machine Never Breaks is not associated with the Washington Capitals; Monumental Sports, the NHL, or its properties. Not even a little bit.
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