STAMFORD, CONN.—The people have spoken and NBC Sports has listened. What at first was a necessary improvise during a fog-heavy game between the Atlanta Falcons and New England Patriots on Oct. 22, the use of NBC’s SkyCam as the primary play-by-play camera quickly became something of a revolution for NFL viewers. Now, NBC has announced that the upcoming “Thursday Night Football” game between the Tennessee Titans and the Pittsburgh Steelers on Nov. 16 will feature the SkyCam as the primary viewing camera for the entire game.
Fans reacted positively to the SkyCam camera from the Super Bowl LI rematch in New England and many expressed interest that it would become the new normal for NFL broadcasts; a USA Today poll had 82 percent of fans say they would want it as the main angle for games. The angle was also used early in the third quarter of the “Sunday Night Football” game between the Oakland Raiders and Miami Dolphins on Nov. 5 because of remaining smoke from halftime fireworks.
Following the game in New England, Fred Guadelli, executive producer of NBC’s “Sunday Night Football” and “Thursday Night Football,” told ESPN that fans should not expect to see a full NFL broadcast from SkyCam “anytime soon” because of logistical problems for the production. Gaudelli did say in the article that NBC had previously explored SkyCam options, but reaction would seemed to have dictated an accelerated development for broadcast.
“After pivoting out of necessity to SkyCam in the New England fog, we’ve been aggressively planning and testing with the intent of utilizing the system for a full game,” said Gaudelli. Gaudelli mentions that many younger viewers have grown up playing video games like “Madden NFL Football” and that the SkyCam provides an experience akin to that.
According to Gaudelli, NBC will still have its full complement of cameras for the Titans-Steelers game and will revert to the traditional camera angles if/when the situation dictates.
NBC is producing five more “Thursday Night Football” games during the 2017 season, however no word was provided if any of those games would also utilize the SkyCam angle as the primary play-by-play coverage.