COMMENTARY: Viewers overwhelmingly loathe the “rinkside view” that Fox Sports West/Prime Ticket is showing on Los Angeles Kings and Anaheim Ducks telecasts. It is time for this utter failure of an experiment to end. Now.
LOS ANGELES — In the spirit of both Halloween and the 2008 election, Fox Sports West/Prime Ticket (FSW/PT) is scaring fans away from their Los Angeles Kings and Anaheim Ducks high definition (HD) broadcasts this season, and it is quite clear that the voters have spoken and have given Tom Feuer, Executive Director of FSW/PT, and both the Kings and Ducks, a mandate to dump the “rinkside view” that they are using this season on all HD broadcasts for the Kings and Ducks.
In fact, as voters across the country decide on Barack Obama vs. John McCain, and as California voters are about to decide on propositions dealing with marriage, funding public transportation projects, reapportionment and the like, Southern California hockey fans have also voted and they have given a landslide victory to the No on Rinkside View campaign.
To be sure, the outcry from fans has been so overwhelming that it is, to say the least, rather curious that FSW/PT has not already dumped rinkside view, which utilizes cameras at ice level to bring viewers an up-close view of the game action, specifically, whereever the puck is.
The problem with this view is that although it can be rather cool to see the action using such a close view, it does not translate well to television at all. To be sure, because of the speed of the game, hockey does not translate nearly as well as basketball, football or baseball to television and it must be viewed from cameras above ice level to get the proper perspective.
Instead, what FSW/PT is doing with their HD broadcasts is nothing more than dizzying and nauseating. The camera angles are so limited that you cannot watch play away from the puck, which is as important as the play around it—it takes far more away from the game broadcast than it adds. To most, it is not something they can watch for more than a few minutes, if that.
Kings and Ducks broadcasts have traditionally suffered from poor ratings and FSW/PT is obviously testing rinkside view in the hopes that it will give their Kings and Ducks broadcasts a boost in viewership. But this horrible gimmick is just that…a gimmick. It does nothing to improve hockey on television. Rather, it seriously detracts from it and while it might raise the curiosity of a miniscule number of infrequent viewers or even a small handful of brand new viewers, rinkside view is not going to improve their ratings. Indeed, if FSW/PT thinks those viewers will be hooked by it, they are badly mistaken. Moreover, rinkside view is already driving their core viewers away en masse—no doubt a losing proposition for FSW/PT.
Someone might want to give the folks responsible for rinkside view over at FSW/PT a lesson in basic math and since some of them apparently believe that rinkside view is worthwhile, a few pointers on hockey would also seem to be in order. And there is one other thing…perhaps we shouldn’t be surprised about this. After all, Fox is also responsible for another travesty in terms of broadcasting hockey on television…the infamous “glow puck” that still makes hockey fans shudder to this day.
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