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View Full Version : NASA TV: "Heidi Bowl 2"


David Brinza
04-16-2007, 09:05 AM
Just as in last year's championship, live coverage on NASA TV from the Georgia Dome was terminated before the finals were completed. That's right, NASA TV pulled the plug on FIRST at 6:30pm EST, just before the teams did the traditional handshake before Final match #2. That means that many viewers who couldn't watch the webcast or had setup their DVR's to record the championship AGAIN didn't get to see the outcome.

At 6:30 pm, NASA TV resumed their "Video File" broadcasts, which are pre-recorded segments of shuttle, space station, etc. activities with headers that describe the clip - presumably for other TV networks to use in newscasts.

Those who were watching FIRST didn't get to see the finals go to a third match, nor the outcome of the finals, nor the crowning of MOE (FRC365) as the 2007 Chairman's Award winner.

I have additional commentary on the quality of the televised coverage that I'll post in a different thread, but to have this happen two years in a row is more than disappointing...it sucks.

GaryVoshol
04-16-2007, 09:25 AM
That's not NASA's fault. If they cut away at 6:30, that's 1/2 hour later than FIRST for scheduled the end of the finals and awards. List a reasonably accurate end-time, and NASA TV can show everything.

Alex Cormier
04-16-2007, 09:43 AM
That's not NASA's fault. If they cut away at 6:30, that's 1/2 hour later than FIRST for scheduled the end of the finals and awards. List a reasonably accurate end-time, and NASA TV can show everything.

It's also when the signal from the satelite times out and ends the broadcast.

David Brinza
04-16-2007, 11:33 AM
That's not NASA's fault. If they cut away at 6:30, that's 1/2 hour later than FIRST for scheduled the end of the finals and awards. List a reasonably accurate end-time, and NASA TV can show everything.
Yes, the NASA TV schedule (published on-line before the event) indicated that the coverage would end at 6:30pm (a half-hour later than last year). The nature of the FIRST Championship is such that an accurate end-time is almost impossible to predict. All four division championships must complete, so if any of them have multiple rounds that go to a third match, field errors, time-outs, etc. the time for the start of the Einstein matches will be delayed. Then there are speeches before the first Einstein match - even though the presentation by Dr. Tony Tether (Head of DARPA) was a bit long, it was very interesting and relevant to FIRST. The robot parade is a nice celebration for the division champions - it could be shorter, though. The awards that are interspersed between matches take time to present as well.

There are things that FIRST could do to speed things up at the Championship, but why? This is FIRST's big celebration - every individual, sponsor or team that wins an award (especially Chairman's) deserves the recognition they've earned. Ever since the "Heidi Bowl" in 1968, the major networks continue coverage of sporting events that overrun their timeslot until completion. Given NASA's major involvement with FIRST, NASA TV should be flexible enough to cover the event to completion, even if it runs more than an hour late.

If the cost of the satellite link the driver? Is staffing at NASA TV's control center a problem? I don't understand why the coverage cannot be extended until the event is over. Maybe someone in FIRST and/or NASA TV can explain the issue...

Richard Wallace
04-16-2007, 11:49 AM
I don't like the Heidi Bowl analogy because it doesn't really fit the situation. We're not trying to sell shoes (or other advertised stuff) here -- FIRST is about inspiration and recognition. Yes, that means celebrating success of the participants. But it also means inspiring others to participate. And that means holding their attention long enough to get the message across.

Please don't hang the blame for this on NASA -- this is FIRST's problem, not theirs. NASA is arguably the best friend FIRST has, but even their resources are not boundless (except for creativity, of course).

For many reasons, NASA coverage included, FIRST needs to find a way to make the Championship finish on time.

Dr.Bot
04-16-2007, 01:18 PM
Please note that the webcast did continue throughout the event, and NASA provides both television and webcasting support for many FIRST events including the kickoff. Those satellite trucks are expensive. (Webcasting isn't free either.)

I don't work for NASA anymore, but whining about getting 8 hours of free satellite TV Nationwide coverage plus all four fields being simultaneously webcast is a bit shallow.