This week, during an NBA game between the Boston Celtics and Philadelphia 76ers, TNT introduced a drone-mounted camera to capture unique angles of the match. However, this bold move was met with an overwhelmingly negative reaction from viewers.
The drone appeared during the first and second quarters of Game 2 of the Eastern Conference semifinals. Fans were annoyed by the flying device, which entered the shot of the main cameras and became a distraction. Many took to Twitter to express their dissatisfaction, calling the view unnecessary and horrible.
A matter of quality?
However, some defended the usage of drones during games and looked at the technology’s potential. SBNATION suggested that the footage could have worked if it was “higher quality and less choppy” and wasn’t “visible from normal camera angles.”
While this isn’t the first time sports broadcasts have used drones, using them indoors presents more risks.
Several incidents have involved drones in sports, some resulting in near misses and injuries. As pointed out by PetaPixel, in 2015, a drone almost hit a skier after falling from the sky, and another crashed into the stands at the tennis U.S. Open. In 2013, five people were injured in Virginia after a drone crashed into the stands at a sporting event. Drones have also raised privacy concerns; others just find them loud and intrusive.
What we think
The use of drone-mounted cameras in indoor sports broadcasts has potential, but there are clear concerns about safety and how they affect the overall viewing experience. Broadcasters must carefully consider these factors and consult with fans, players and coaches before implementing such technology. There’s potential here. However, for now, it seems that most viewers prefer a traditional, less intrusive approach to capturing games.