About three times during a sports broadcast will you see scenic shots — captured aerially or on street level — of the home team’s city or town. It gives the viewers at home a familiar look to a place that some may have been before or have a strong desire to visit. It may also conjure up images of hate, whether they are related to sports or your personal life.
The obligatory city/town panoramic is an extra character actor in the hackneyed drama of sports. It’s not significant in the sense that it has something to do with that terrible horse collar attempt by Steve Weatherford or the Giants’ corralling of Adrian Peterson last night. Yet, it’s significant in how the television network wants you to think of the team, the pressure of the media market for pro sports, the “lone show in town” bubble created by college sports.
In some ways, it’s beautiful to see the varied skylines of cities around the world at different hues of the day. The overhead shot of downtown Los Angeles at night (as above) or the Hollywood Sign on Mount Lee during the blue-skied afternoon are indelible images that are a part of every telecast of every L.A.-based team. Fans watching around the world don’t ever forget that Los Angeles is known as the city that makes stars thanks to those pictorials.
Yet, don’t you just wish on occasion that sports networks actually turned the cameras on somewhere else? If you’re a native of the place on display, don’t you think about the parts of these towns and cities that more people should know about beyond the tourist traps? You know, where the team’s fans actually live?
When yours truly sees those obligatory, but still beautiful, shots of the Manhattan skyline, I wonder why won’t a camera crew grow a set, drive uptown and show the world how we’re truly living along 145th Street. Or in Jackson Heights in Queens. Or chaos of the after-school traffic jams on Fordham Road in The Bronx.
I imagine Philadelphians wouldn’t mind seeing a bit of Germantown and Erie (and the underrated Max’s cheesesteaks) on occasion. Or how about glimpses at some of the working class nabes throughout the DMV during Capitals games or some honest looks at what the true St. Louis or Boston look like during the upcoming World Series.
(Of course, there are a few things that networks don’t want viewers to see. Consider whenever the 49ers play at Candlestick Park or the Yankees take in a game at the Stadium. Notice that you never ever, ever, ever, ever see an overhead view like the 2009 photo of The Bronx below because they don’t want you to see the less-than-pristine neighborhoods they are located in. It’s only at night you will get the overhead show from the Goodyear Blimp, where the stadium is “the beacon of light” in the hood dark.)
It’s just one of those parts of the sports broadcasting that can use a little more … real.
Chew on these links.
NBA near deals to allow live local streaming leaguewide – Sports Business Journal
Are the Chiefs the worst 7-0 team ever? – Joe Posnanski (I agree with him, absolutely not)
My Life As a Young Thug (feature written by Mike Tyson) – New York Magazine
Deconstructing 2013’s Weirdest Baseball Playoff Ads – The Rotation at Sports on Earth
Here Lies Teddy Bridgewater’s Heisman Candidacy – The Shadow League
Disruptions: Silicon Valley’s Next Stop: The Kitchen – Bits at the New York Times
Malcolm Gladwell Dominates Airport Bookstores – Bloomberg Businessweek
Jason is the editor-in-chief here at TSFJ. In addition to a past life as a research analyst in advertising, television and online media, he spent seven seasons as the New York Beacon’s beat writer for the New York Giants. Jason has written for Yardbarker, Dime Magazine, Decider, Awful Announcing and The Week. He is also a member of his high school’s 4th period gym class floor hockey champions.
He shares more of his perspectives at jasonclinkscales.com.