Broadcasters struggle to adapt

Sports broadcasters have been dealt a blow by COVID-19, and most strategies to fight back aren't working.



August 13, 2021 - 2:10 PM

TAMPA, Fla. — If the defining broadcast images of the 2020 season were eerily empty stadiums, the most prescient scene for post-COVID-19 sports was covered in slime.

It happened in January, when Nickelodeon aired an alternate, kid-focused broadcast of the NFL’s Bears-Saints wild-card game. There were colorful graphics, cartoon eyes, cameos from SpongeBob SquarePants and, of course, shooting slime cannons to celebrate touchdowns.

“My 5-year-old was eyes glued to the sliming in the end zone,” said Matt Balvanz, the senior vice president of analytics and innovation at Navigate, a data-driven sports/entertainment consulting firm.

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