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Hero TV News Reporter Draws His Own CFP Highlights!

Sam Ali is the sports reporter for the local TV news show on an NBC affiliate in Michigan, and he faced a tricky situation on Monday night. The CFP national championship game had just gone final, with Michigan defeating Washington — but since ESPN was still on the air, he wasn’t allowed to show any highlights until the game broadcast was completely over.

What to do? As he later explained on Twitter, “I promised the viewers ‘highlights’ and I tried to deliver the best I could.” Here’s how that turned out (I recommend going full-screen for this one):

Oh man, is that not the greatest thing ever?

This article has more details, including the following:

“I decided, you know what, let’s, let’s do something fun,” Ali said. “We can’t be down in Houston [where the game was being played], but why not bring Houston to our viewers?”

He then set to work recreating the game with nothing more than his imagination and the desktop drawing application Microsoft Paint.

“Some of the details, I had to be a little bit more meticulous. It was a lot more work than I thought it would be,” Ali said. “I thought, oh, just do some stick figures, but then I became just enamored by it, and I really wanted to get the details in.”

The drawings, which made it into the live broadcast of the game coverage, were a surprise to those in the newsroom, Ali said.

“I kept teasing that we will have highlights, we will have highlights,” Ali said. “And the anchors are looking at me like, ‘what do you mean you’re going to have highlights?’ They didn’t know what was going to happen.”

That whole article is worth reading — good stuff.

The year has barely started, but Ali already has my vote for 2024 sports reporter of the year. Big kudos to him!

(Kudos also to Christian Berumen for letting me know about this one.)

Comments (13)

    Broadcast restrictions and blackouts are archaic and unnecessary.

    Also, I applaud him for not including any branding.

    That is the coolest thing I have seen in a while. It’s nice that someone could have fun with something instead of taking everything so seriously.

    I remember when Bob Lobel from Channel 4 in Boston would substitute footage from Punch-Out for embargoed fight footage from PPV title fights.

    During my near-20 years in TV, the rule was that you couldn’t show highlights while a game was on a network (over the air) TV, but it was fine to show them if the game was on cable. You also couldn’t (for example if you had a reporter at the game) show any portion of the game live. Things may have changed since then, but I don’t think so. So either this anchor was looking to go viral, doesn’t know the rules, or (possibly) there is some kind of new rule specific to ESPN or the CFP.

    Replying to myself – maybe there is a rule for any national broadcast, but that’s not how I ever played it. But muddying the waters even further – the anchor gives the final score in his report – ao if the game was over anyway, why the need to use the cartoons? Maybe because ESPN was still “in coverage” until they go to commercial following the conclusion of the game – but I remain suspicious.

    Worked in TV for over 15 years and can tell you that NCAA football/basketball rules and NFL rules are the most ridiculous I’ve ever read.

    Did work on broadcasts that were an NFL team production and they had the same restrictions on the amount of NFL footage aloud per 30 minutes as we would’ve been on our own.

    Also, NFL rules for team broadcasts states they can’t show any in stadium game day video on a broadcast that occurs while another NFL game is on the air. This really only ever came into play on the Monday night games when they would do two games and then when they started the London games in the morning.

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