Ed Note: Earlier this week Wizards play by play man Steve Buckhantz and Pistons play by play man George Blaha mistakenly called a game ending airball by Washington's Trevor Ariza as a game winning three pointer. The blooper, especially Buckhantz's call, went viral and was even mocked on national television by Inside the NBA. However, from the announcer's perspective, it was a perfect storm of circumstances working against the men who called the game. And, it was symbolic of larger issues that have faced broadcasters around the NBA. An anonymous veteran NBA announcer writes about those issues and why they led to the retracted dagger Wednesday night.
Philadelphia was the first, Washington this year was the second to move TV off of its traditional courtside location. More will be coming in future years I have no doubt. Both have been used as radio locations for years. This dates back to 2006, on what we call “that black day” when teams (lobbied by owners) were allowed to convert their radio broadcast locations into premium seating for big money.
Some arenas were equipped with space at suite level, giving you a long view, but unobstructed. Others were not, so the broadcasts were moved either way up high, off to an angle, or both. It started with about ten teams doing it, now I think we’re at 22 or 23 who’ve done it. If your team is one of them, you’re basically going to get 10 games courtside out of 82 as opposed to 80 out of 82. (Cleveland always had their great Joe Tait perched in the first balcony… Boston had that for years at the old Garden for Johnny Most.)
As for the other night, Washington’s spot is parallel with one basket, so things that happen on the other end are a long way away. With the shot not getting any of the rim, it was the perfect storm.
It was nice to see other broadcasters in the league come to their (Buckhantz and Blaha's) defense on this one. We have the tendency to eat our young, as some guys have difficulty fighting that 'worse another guy looks, the better you look' mentality. But I think we all know it could happen to us tomorrow.
So for TV, yes, Washington is the absolute worst, Phily is high and pretty off center, but the angle isn’t as harsh. For radio, Dallas, Denver and New York are high, so is Washington. Places like Atlanta and Miami offer a decent view but you’re in fan aisles and there’s no security.
It is what it is, you won’t get guys to talk about it on the record because our bosses obviously would prefer that we just shut up and deal with it. Which I get. This is a big issue for the broadcasters in the league, and the NFL too where it's getting bad. Management can do whatever they want to make as much money as they can. I just don't like to see my colleagues take the fall for it.
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(Pic via cjzero)
@awfulannouncing I did college bkb courtside on radio & got blocked by coaches. Clem McCarthy blocked by fans at '47 Preakness #oldchallenge
@awfulannouncing blooper of the year? Have we already forgotten about rece davis needing to explain to bob knight how the shot clock works?
So true. This also is a growing epidemic in BCS basketball where I broadcast games. Radio crews (and local TV) are being shifted to terrible spots to free up a courtside seat. What the decision makers don't (and probably never will) realize is that what they are gaining in courtside seat revenue they are more than losing in the entertainment value they are bringing their fans who aren't in the arena.
@awfulannouncing Lakers announcers never had courtside seats. Chick always started broadcasts with "We're high above the western sideline.."
...And they wonder why they have trouble interesting people in their games when they're reported late, wrong, slow and with no input to choose a better source of connection to the games when the approved source fails.
I've called basketball games on the radio from courtside close enough to where the coach could hear me... and from literally the rafters for others. Closer is definitely better, but especially when it comes to the quality of NBA broadcasts you would think that would trump a few extra courtside seats. I guess not...
Interesting @awfulannouncing post on NBA teams moving announcers off court and how it's affecting broadcasts. http://t.co/d9KIwAdpge
Wow. “@richarddeitsch: An anonymous NBA broadcaster talks to @awfulannouncing about screwing up calls: http://t.co/o69fQiIw2I”
The college I do games for has me up off the court at the top of the bleacher area. I much prefer being courtside since I feel like you get a much better feel for the game from up close but the angle is pretty good. I'm always a little annoyed that the opposing radio crew often gets to be courtside for the games.
That said being a little up with a good view of the court is yards better than baseline. No excuse for moving guys there. If you can't accommodate them reasonably higher up along the sideline then leave them courtside.
MT @richarddeitsch: Anonymous NBA broadcaster to @awfulannouncing: "For TV, yes, Washington is the absolute worst." http://t.co/44SfQBUVKb
@patrickalog Although I actually liked the old, elevated press area for UC Davis. Those sight lines were great.
76ers TV team has it tough. MT @richarddeitsch NBA broadcaster talks to @awfulannouncing about screwing up calls: http://t.co/j74qOjGZ74
“@TheDissNBA: Awful Announcing got an NBA announcer to write a column. good get. http://t.co/XHmvRWh2sP” I smell Jim Pete!
#Wizards MT @awfulannouncing: anon NBA announcer writes for AA about this weeks botched buzzer beater/why it happened http://t.co/jVrLqP8hLd
Legendary local radio voice Al McCoy for the Phoenic Suns almost always makes a quick snipe during intro's about "how far away we are from the action tonight" whenever he visits one of these arenas. You can tell how much it bothers him, and I don't blame him. Allow these guys to do their job well, and stop shoving them to the back for an extra $1000 seat.
As a fellow NBA announcer I agree with all of the above. Worse yet, the Wizards uniforms with their stripes running through the numerals makes calling their games amongst the most difficult in the league to begin with. Add in the extended view for broadcast locations and it truly is a worst case scenario.