Behind the Broadcast: Safety issues should trump how racing action is presented

We live in a great age of sports broadcasting. From high-definition televisions to numerous sports c

We live in a great age of sports broadcasting.

From high-definition televisions to numerous sports channels, it’s an amazing time. And the pictures we see on the screen are so colorful and brilliant. When you watch a sporting event, it seems like cameras are everywhere, from the stands, to on the field and even over the playing surface.

But while those overhead cameras make you feel like you’re part of the action, there is always that worry that the cable holding the camera above the field will snap and cause some major problems.

Unfortunately, that happened to FOX Sports during last Sunday’s NASCAR Sprint Cup Coca-Cola 600 at Charlotte Motor Speedway.

A cable holding the camera over the race track snapped. Ten people were injured, none seriously. But the cable also landed on the track, and that caused damage to several of the race cars. The race was stopped for 30 minutes while crews cleaned up the mess.

The last thing any sport needs is to have an outcome affected by a camera dropping from the sky. It’s even more dangerous having an overhead camera at an auto race. With cars speeding around track close to 200 mph, there’s no way a race could stop if the camera fell onto the track. It’s a tragedy waiting to happen.

Fortunately, it was just the cable. But in reading the accounts of the incident from The Associated Press stories on Sunday night, some of the drivers were quite surprised that something like that could happen.

I am all for having overhead cameras at sports events. But there may be some sports that could do without it for safety reasons. Auto racing heads that list. To me, there is too much potential for tragedy.

Sunday’s auto ratings

FOX’s coverage of the race earned a 4.3 rating. An average of 7.1 million watched the race.

ABC Sports’ Indianapolis 500 coverage in the afternoon had a 3.7 rating an average of 5.7 million viewers.

NBC Sports’ Monaco Grand Prix early-morning telecast got a 1.0 rating and was seen by an average of 1.456 million viewers.

WPYX, Giants close

WPYX-FM (106.5) and the New York Giants are close to finalizing a new three-year deal.

A source close to the situation said the contract could be finalized by the end of the week. The new aspect of the deal is expanded coverage, which could mean a longer pregame show. WPYX only aired a 15-minute pregame show from the Giants’ flagship station, WFAN-AM and FM.

John Cooper, operations manager for Clear Channel of Albany, declined comment.

On Tuesday, ESPN Radio announced it signed individual multi­year agreements with the Giants, New York Jets, New England Pat­riots, Pittsburgh Steelers and Miami Dolphins for out-of-market Sunday afternoon syndication rights beginning with this season. However, PYX 106’s coverage of the Giants is protected from this agreement.

A day after ESPN Radio’s announcement, Dial Global sent out a press release touting its NFL

radio coverage of regular-season and playoff games. It makes you wonder if ESPN Radio is turning up the heat on Dial Global and wanting to take over the NFL radio package.

Stay tuned.

Parting shots

The NHL Stanley Cup conference finals get under way today with a double-header. At 5 p.m., NBC Sports Network and NBCSN HD have Game 1 of the Western final between the Los Angeles Kings and Chicago Blackhawks. At 8, NBC13 (WNYT) and NBC13 HD have Game 1 of the Eastern final between the Boston Bruins and Chicago Blackhawks. NBCSN and NBCSN HD will have Game 2 of the Kings-Blackhawks series at 8 p.m. Sunday.

Glens Falls native Dave Strader will call the Western final with Darren Pang and Brian Engblom. Mike Emrick, Ed Olczyk and Pierre McGuire will be on the Eastern final. . . .

TNT and TNT HD have Game 6 of the NBA’s Eastern Conference finals between the Miami Heat and Indiana Pacers tonight at 8:30. A Heat win sends them to the Finals against the San Antonio Spurs. . . .

The Boston Red Sox-New York Yankees series gets the prime-time treatment this weekend. FOX23 (WXXA) and FOX23 HD will have tonight’s game at 7:15, and ESPN and ESPN HD carries the Sunday night contest at 8. . . .

Former FOX23 weekend sports anchor Brett Martineau was named sports director of Jacksonville, Fla., TV stations WTEV/WAWS this week. Martineau has been with the station for five years. . . .

NBC13 and NBC13 HD have French Open tennis action today at noon and Sunday at 1 p.m. . . .

The PGA Memorial Tournament will be on Golf Channel, Golf Channel HD, CBS6 (WRGB) and CBS6 HD this weekend. Today’s third-round coverage starts on the Golf Channel at 12:30 p.m. before CBS takes over at 3. Sunday’s final round will be on Golf Channel at noon and CBS at 2:30.

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