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This relentless touting of "Green Room Guys" is ESPN's attempt to bring NBA fans to the college basketball arena, but succeeds mostly in alienating the remaining diehards the sport still has left. That's how you try to sit down and watch your Wolverines play the hated Buckeyes and get treated to a camera angle that fails to inform you whether or not half the shots went in, or why tonight, John Groce will be staring daggers at Seth Greenberg as he's trying to draw up inbounds plays.
This has always been the fundamental conflict for ESPN, for broadcast networks, for content Websites, for any media company who ever does anything.
How do you balance catering toward your core customers -- the people who will watch your programming or read your Website or download your podcast -- with trying to bring in new, otherwise disinterested people without irritating the first group so much that they no longer trust your product?
If you enjoy watching sports, ESPN is a part of your life. The idea that millions and millions of Americans, some of whom were watching on massive wall-size screens at bars around this great country, were entranced by a wide shot of a man briefly adjusting his pants is only hilarious if you don't particularly care about, you know, who's winning the game.
And that camera angle was one they used It was part of a new initiative for ESPN's college basketball broadcasts, an insistence on "experimenting" with new ways of "giving viewers different access to the game." It was called "floor seat cam," used during the Ohio State-Michigan game, and it was terrible.
An ESPN spokesperson said the experiment -- which was, I repeat, used for the entire broadcast of an important game between two hated rivals -- was steeped in the history of ESPN, a company "built on trying new things and taking risks, and tonight is just another example of that." Wrote Michigan fan Ben Mathis-Lilley in Slate, "You, the viewer, thought you were turning on the TV to watch a basketball game.