ESPN’s decision to air soccer’s European Championships using commentators calling games from a studio in the United States caused the network to miss multiple goals and the end of Germany’s 3-2 semifinal win over Turkey in Basel, Switzerland, Wednesday.
A storm in Vienna, Austria (the center of TV operations for the tournament jointly hosted by Austria and Switzerland), caused the international feed of the game to be delayed multiple times, and with ESPN having no commentators on-site, the network missed two of the game’s five goals live.
According to Reuters, the outage was a result of Vienna's International Broadcast Centre being hit by hurricane-force winds. Subsequently, any network around the world carrying the feed lost the video signal.
Calling internationally based games from studios is not uncommon for ESPN or other sports networks. However, in this case, with no one on site, ESPN was forced to fill time with its studio hosts bantering as the international feed cut out while the Germans went up 2-1 and then Turkey tied the game at 2-2.
The feed did return in time for ESPN to air the Germans scoring the game-winning goal in the last few minutes of the contest, but it then cut out again, causing viewers to miss the conclusion of the match.
Executives from ESPN -- which also has the rights to soccer assets such as the World Cup and Major League Soccer -- said they are committed to the sport as an up-and-coming television property.
An ESPN spokesperson had not returned an e-mail seeking comment at press time.