Football fans around the world must have cursing their TV sets Wednesday night when the TV transmission was interrupted three separate times during key moments in the thrilling Euro 2008 semi-final between Germany and Turkey.
UEFA is investigating the situation to find out what happened, but it appears that a thunderstorm is blamed for the interruptions. Neverthless, the damage has already been done. UEFA will have to do everything it can to prevent similar embarrassing incidents from happening in the future.
While the interruptions in transmission appeared to happen around the world, this is how the technical difficulties occurred while watching the game on ESPN in the United States:
- At minute 57:15, the screen went black. ESPN quickly changed the video to show live coverage of the Fan Zone in Basel where mostly German fans congregated. ESPN commentator Derek Rae handled the situation very calmly and professionally before handing the reins back to Rece Davis in the ESPN studio. Davis and pundits Julie Foudy and Tommy Smyth then proceeded to go through the motions and repeat everything they had said almost verbatim from the half-time show including showing the same video footage.
- After almost seven minutes without coverage, the live game feed on ESPN returned at minute 64:10.
- At minute 76:26, ESPN lost the live TV feed again. This was at a crucial moment in the game and it was unfortunate that viewers around the world missed Miroslav Klose’s goal for Germany in the 79th minute to make it 2-1. The bad fortune for ESPN (and broadcasters around the world) was compounded when the interruption in TV feeds missed Turkey’s equalizer in the 86th minute. When ESPN’s live feed returned, at minute 86:34, viewers saw the Turks celebrating Senturk’s goal.
- ESPN was lucky with the third and final goal for Germany when Philip Lahm scored in the 90th minute. At minute 90:32, ESPN lost the TV feed yet again but returned shortly afterwards to show that the game had just finished with scenes of the German players and fans celebrating.
Overall, ESPN was unable to show more than 17 minutes of live TV football coverage because of the technical problems suffered by UEFA. ESPN and broadcasters worldwide were terribly fortunate that the winning goal of the match was shown. If that one had gone in the net during the timespan when UEFA had lost the TV transmission, there would have been riots in the streets.
Please share your stories about what happened and how your TV network handled the technical difficulties by clicking the comments link below.