Sports is something where anything can happen, and as sports broadcasters, we have to be ready for anything that might occur before, during or after a game.
From injuries to weather delays to long stoppages, all manner of interruptions are known to impact the action…however that doesn’t even cover the tip of the iceberg of things that can happen on air.
For example….a cat. November 4th’s Monday Night Football between the Giants and Cowboys was progressing as normal when a black cat strolled onto the field and caused a moderate stoppage in the game.
So how do you handle these sorts of interruptions? How do you be ready for anything when you’re on the air? Countless videos have emerged of the above incident of broadcasters or even fans ‘calling’ the cats run into the endzone as if it were a receiver scoring six.
Others, like the video above just make light of the situation and treat it as a normal stoppage and a chance to take a short break.
Barrett Sports Media recently took a look at this subject, and offer up some excellent thoughts on how broadcasters can move beyond their game notes and truly be ready for anything when on air.
You’ve seen it time and time again during a sports broadcast—something out of the ordinary will interrupt a game. I’m not talking about rain, lightning or other weather events. I’m talking about animals, insects, birds and other creatures.
These put the broadcaster on the spot because, of course, you don’t know that a squirrel is going to jump into the visiting team’s dugout. I’m sure you didn’t see in the game notes, but a pigeon was going to camp out on the pitcher’s mound or that a drunk fan is going to run onto the field. Did you? How do you deal with this?
There are a few different schools of thought on this situation. One option is to call it like you see it (of course this applies to radio). Your audience is going to hear the roars and cheers of the crowd when it isn’t expected, so you have an obligation to tell people what is going on. The approach can be matter of fact, “folks the cheers you’re hearing is for a squirrel that is running on the field right now, so we’re going to have a delay…” Simple, understated, but yet informative. You’ve given them what they really need to know. From there you can determine if you need to take it further by doing a little “non-game” play-by-play.
Read the full story here.