Fox Sports’ ‘Tuba Guy’ Gaffe The Latest In Broadcast Woes During W-League Matches

Fox Sports’ ‘Tuba Guy’ Gaffe The Latest In Broadcast Woes During W-League Matches
B&T Magazine
Edited by B&T Magazine

A W-League match between Adelaide United and Melbourne Victory was the victim of another broadcasting glitch from Fox Sports, which has been slammed for its repeated coverage woes.

Briefly in the first half of the match, played on Friday, the Fox Sports feed cut out and was replaced by a man, apparently  in his bedroom, said to be a broadcast worker. The incident lasted around 30 seconds before Fox Sports cut to a commercial—and to highlights of men’s football—before the match returned to screens.

The gaffe, involving a man the internet calls ‘Tuba Guy’, comes after two separate Fox Sports broadcast incidents during W-League matches occurred in January.

During Brisbane Roar’s 6-0 win over Melbourne Victory on 22 January, a telecast was plagued by repeated audio and video cut-outs during the first 45 minutes.

Viewers, at the time, additionally complained on social media about the quality of the picture from what appeared to be only a single camera in use at the game on the Gold Coast.

In addition, in early January there was a graphics malfunction during Canberra United’s match with Melbourne City, which saw a large hexagon appear on viewers’ screens for minutes, blocking the view of the match which continued behind the malfunction.

Fox Sports’ parent-company, Foxtel, said it had addressed the cause of the two separate technical glitches. However, it prompted criticism from the Australian players’ union about falling below “professional standards” of broadcasting.

In 2019 taxpayers paid $10 million to Foxtel, after it was granted the amount by the federal government to go towards its coverage of women’s sport. This came after the Turnbull government granted Foxtel a further $30 million in 2017 for women’s sport.

According to The Sydney Morning Herald, Fox outsources the production of a number of W-League matches to BarTV Sports, one of several streaming companies operating in Australia offering “cheaper services in comparison with others like NEP”.

The issues have come just months out from the end of Fox Sports’ long-term contract with Football Australia to broadcast A-League and W-League matches.

“These repeated stuff-ups with the W-League broadcast are disrespectful to players and fans,” Greens Senator Sarah-Hanson Young told The Herald.

“Fox Sports should never have been given $40m of taxpayer money to broadcast women’s sport. If they’re going to do a half-assed job they should give the money back and it can go to the public broadcasters who should have gotten it in the first place.

“Fans who have forked out for a pay TV subscription have paid to see their favourite team twice and certainly didn’t sign up to watch an analyst sitting in what looked like his bedroom.”

In addition, Hanson-Young last month described the Foxtel and federal government arrangement as a “rort” after it was revealed by The Herald that the ABC was paying Foxtel up to $35,000 for each Matildas match aired by the public broadcaster.

The Herald reported that this means taxpayers were “essentially paying twice for the content”.

This latest incident at Friday night’s clash between Adelaide United and Melbourne Victory has only added fuel to the fire online, as well.

“Fark, what a stuff up,” one Twitter user said in response to the incident, to which another responded: “I love that he plays and/or decorates with a big tuba!”

“I didn’t know [Fox Sports Australia] could shit the bed more but they continue to prove me wrong by the days,” another wrote.

While yet another quipped: “Probably just some YouTUBA.”

The incident additionally comes as Australia and New Zealand prepare to host the 2023 FIFA Women’s World Cup, an event that then FFA chief executive David Gallop said, “would bring enormous benefits to the Australian community, not only promoting healthy, active lifestyles but inclusion and gender equality.”

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