Here’s why the NCAA Tournament camera view in Boise is so bad

Folks, what an exciting first day of the tournament, there were tons of close games throughout the day, we even got a buzzer-beater that gave us one of the two real upset from the opening day.

But aside from the basketball, the main thing that everyone seemed to be talking about was how much they hated the camera view for the games that were in Boise. As soon as one of the channels went to a game that was in the Gem State and Taco Bell Arena, complaints started flying, with only one or two people, that I saw, saying they liked it.


Take a look at the image at the top of the screen, that was what you saw on TV, it is much steeper than the traditional sideline camera that we saw at all of the other sites. It’s not so much that it’s a bad angle, it’s that it throws off our perception. I couldn’t tell if shots were good or not while on the way to the rim because of the steep angle, it looked like every shot had no arch on it.

Well following the last game of the night, I did some detective work to try to figure out why the camera view was so bad. Here’s what I found.

Taco Bell Arena was made in 1982, a time when not every game was on TV or live-streamed, I know that’s hard to believe in 2018, but it’s true. So I suspected that the arena was made with the actual fans in the arena in mind, giving them the best, closest view in all seats, and that they didn’t think to build a permanent camera well, because how could they have known that the NCAA Tournament would turn into the biggest weekend in TV history.

And that in turn led to them putting a camera where the best spot was, that also impacted the least amount of seats in the arena.

But I needed proof to prove this theory, and about 20 minutes of searching on Google led me to this:


Take a look in the upper right portion of the picture. There is what appears to be a crow’s next dangling off the facing of the third deck, and if you look really close (sorry this image is so dark), you can see that they tarped over about 15 seats on each side of the aisle behind the cameras, because obviously the fans there wouldn’t be able to see the action on the court with cameras in the way.

Here’s a better view from a non-basketball event.


Sure enough, right there at the top of the picture is that same crows nest that we see in the image above this one, only the seats aren’t tarped off in this one.

Here’s a couple other shots that also show this weird basket, including one from the fans who sit up there by the main camera.



Now, that still doesn’t explain the lousy camera view. But as I said earlier, the goal is to put it on the sideline and interfere with the fewest amount of seats as possible, because those seats at center court, even in the upper deck, are the prime and most expensive seats.

So rather than put the camera basket thing off the facing of the 2nd deck/club level, where roughly most camera wells are now, but where seats are even more expensive and exclusive, (and in one of the shots you can see a ribbon board that would prevent them from putting there) they moved it up about 20 feet to the facing of the 3rd deck. Add in that they are also sticking out about 6-10 feet from the 3rd deck rather than being built into the seats, and you get a view that is both higher up AND closer to the sideline than most other cameras are for the NCAA Tournament.

So while you may hate the camera angle in Boise, just know that views like that are getting fewer and fewer as we run out of stadiums that were built in the 1980s, where function for fans was more important than TV viewers. I can remember Joe Louis Arena, built a couple years earlier than Taco Bell Arena, basically just taking out a few seats in the front row of the upper deck and making a camera well, because they also did not build one into the arena’s plans.

If you want someone to be angry at over the lousy camera view in Boise, blame the people who built and designed the arena, not the channel showing the game.

UPDATE: A reader on Twitter has pointed out that Taco Bell Arena used to have the camera well/nest hanging off the mezzanine/club level seats, but in 2013 they added the previously mention ribbon boards, forcing the cameras up higher.



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