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A Euro soccer TV disaster

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Imagine watching this past season’s Super Bowl. Time running out, New England trailing the Giants and trying to score the go-ahead score. The Pats move inside the Giants’ 20 when all of a sudden Fox loses its TV feed and the next 10 minutes of the game is blacked out and you only hear New England scored the go-ahead touchdown from studio analysts. The picture comes back in time to catch replays of the Giants retaking the lead, only to go dark again on New England’s last desperate drive, and you hear the final from Terry Bradshaw in the studio.

This is pretty much what happened to me and to TV viewers worldwide near the end of the Euro 2008 soccer semifinal between Germany and Turkey. With the score tied, 1-1, in the 76th minute, ESPN lost its feed as did networks worldwide. We were forced to watch ESPN talking heads discuss the game still in progress and missed Germany taking a 2-1 lead.

Suddenly, in the 86th minute, the feed came back and we saw Turkey celebrating tying the score at 2-2. Things were cool for about five minutes and we saw Germany score the winning goal live at 89:30. But about 15 seconds into extra time, the screen went blank again and viewers missed the end of what was Germany’s 3-2 win.

The problems arose in neighboring Austria, where lightning, thunder and torrential rain caused a power outage at the International Broadcast Center in Vienna, from which the telecast is beamed all over the world. … Spectators at the match in the Swiss city of Basel remained dry and unperturbed throughout. Only on Swiss TV and Al-Jazeera was the entire game available.

Al-Jazeera? Quick, somebody blame the terrorists! –Jim Buzinski