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#pounditMonday, December 5, 2022

FOX Sports badly burned for not sending TV crew to Illinois-Iowa game

Illinois vs Iowa

A series of bad decisions led to a pretty significant error on the FOX Sports 1 television broadcast of Saturday’s Illinois-Iowa game.

The network did not send a broadcast crew to Kinnick Stadium for the game. Instead, they opted to keep their crew in-studio to broadcast the game off a monitor. The decision cost the network during the fourth quarter, when the broadcast missed a significant moment in the game.

Iowa got the ball back early in the fourth quarter up 20-16 after an Illinois punt. The TV broadcast went to commercial after the punt, as is customary. However, in the aftermath of the play, a skirmish broke out between the two teams. The incident led to Illinois getting two personal fouls for a combined 30 yards, moving the ball from the Illinois 47 to the Illinois 17.

That’s a potentially game-changing series of events.

The problem was that the commentators didn’t see the skirmish because it occurred while the game was at commercial break. When the game returned from commercials, the in-studio announcers, who weren’t in the stadium to see what had happened, were confused and had no idea why Iowa was starting at the Illini 17.

Iowa ended up getting a field goal out of the drive and went on to win 33-23.

It became more common for networks to keep broadcasters in studios during the pandemic, both for safety reasons and because it saves on traveling costs. However, this sort of cost-cutting move inevitably leads to some preventable mistakes. Had the FS1 crew been on the scene, they would have observed the scuffle and explained what happened even if they didn’t come back from commercial quickly enough to show it live.

FOX broadcasts running into issues with commercials is nothing new, it would seem.

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