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The Copa America’s Weird Broadcasts Are Great For Me, Someone Who Has Played Too Many Football Video Games

If it's good for EAFC it's good for TV

Copa America broadcast

The Copa America--South America's continental football championship, held every few years--is on right now, and because it's a weird tournament (I don't have time to get into it), the 2024 edition is actually being held in the United States of America. Which has, of course, led to even more weirdness.

It's been an organisational disaster for fans, of course, that much was to be expected. But players have also been complaining about the pitches, saying they've been of poor quality and too small. Even people watching the tournament at home have found stuff to hate, chief among them some very bizarre camera angles.

USA vs Uruguay as the broadcast appeared during the first half

The big USA v Uruguay match a few days ago featured--for the first half at least--a distant view that had folks at home saying it looked like the game was being played in a "stadium for ants". This is not how football matches are normally televised, and people were upset! Normally the view is much closer to the pitch, where you can actually see who is who. Like this:

It doesn't matter which league or which country, nearly every football broadcast camera angle looks like this

It wasn't the first time a Copa America broadcast had featured the angle, taken from cameras mounted high in the stands in a stadium usually used for NFL games. Viewers hated it so much that during halftime the cameras were moved back to a more traditional perspective, so the second half looked like this:

USA vs Uruguay as the broadcast appeared during the first half

While headlines in the sporting world in the wake of this debacle have all focused on how many people hated the view, I would like to say that I loved it. And I loved it because that's exactly how I play FIFA/EA Sports FC.

That game's default camera angle is pretty close to traditional broadcast stuff--not a surprise given EAFC is more concerned with mimicking how football games look on TV than with how they feel to play--but what the game allows that TV broadcasts don't is the ability to change that view.

And I normally change it to something pretty similar to that Copa America "ant" setting! Here's the view I normally play using:

It might be a "stadium for ants", but I love it. Sure, you can't always make out who is who, but that's less important to me than being able to actually see what's happening. Football is a fast, fluid sport that at any moment can shift the action 50 yards away, or see a passing move involve eight players all running around open spaces. The higher the camera is, the easier it is to see that action develop and then take place.

I thought the Copa America broadcasts were just thinking the same thing! After all, it wouldn't be the first time televised world football was influenced by video games; a few years back many penalties (which used to be shown from the regular match perspective) started being shown like this, an almost exact copy of the penalty view seen in both EAFC and PES:

How Messi takes a penalty in EA Sports FC
How Messi takes a penalty in a World Cup final

While the EAFC penalty view has been a huge success, I guess folks aren't ready for the ant view just yet. I hope broadcasters keep trying it out though, because I think the more you can see of what's happening on the field, the better!

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