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Football Fans Suffer from Annoying ‘Sun Outages’ During Weekend Games

Football fans experienced sun outages over the weekend.
@FOS / X video screen shot

The following article, Football Fans Suffer from Annoying 'Sun Outages' During Weekend Games, was first published on Flag And Cross.

College football fans who experienced signal disruptions during ABC’s coverage of the annual Red River Shootout between Oklahoma and Texas — and other events — now have an explanation for the network’s technical issues.

The problem is due to the time of year and the placement of satellites relative to their location to the sun. The phenomenon is blamed on something called a “sun outage.”

I experienced the issue firsthand during the first and second quarters of the annual rivalry game, which was broadcast from the Cotton Bowl in Dallas from the Texas State Fair.

My Oklahoma Sooners were up 7-0 with 11:58 on the game clock in the opening quarter when Texas lined up to punt deep in its own territory.

There was one issue for fans of both teams, as well as casual viewers: The Longhorns faked the punt and converted it for a huge gain as the signal cut out.

Moments later, another signal disruption had me screaming, “SOMEONE KEEPS UNPLUGGING SOMETHING!”

At the time, officials were trying to determine if tight end Gunnar Helm had fumbled following a dime of a pass from Texas quarterback Quinn Ewers.

Texas kept the ball but Ewers quickly threw his second interception of the first quarter a few plays later.

I would be committing the crime of omission if I didn’t mention the fact that Texas blocked an OU punt in the end zone for an easy special teams touchdown moments later.

But what about those annoying signal issues? ESPN’s Chris Fowler finally explained to viewers that no rogue employee was behind the issue, nor was anyone in the broadcast booth playing with any equipment.

“We apologize. We’re dealing with some serious technical issues,” the ESPN commentator said.

Fowler added, “It’s a power issue. Our crew is as good as any trying to get things in terms of the cameras and microphones back up and running.”

The problems for ABC didn’t end there.

At one point later in the game, the signal was so porous that my TV was showing the game cut in half with what was supposed to be the bottom of the feed at the top and vice versa.

It really added an unnecessary layer to the drama of the game — which is one of the best rivalries in sports that this year happened to match up two of the best teams in the country.

Front Office Sports explained the reason for the broadcast problems.

“Your TV isn’t broken,” the account posted. “For the next few days, the Earth and Disney satellite are in direct line with the sun — causing a ‘sun outage’ and brief interruptions on ESPN.”

Astound Broadband previously explained a bit more about sun outages and when they were expected to occur this year:

“Sun outages occur every year, in Fall and Spring, and last approximately about a week each time. This Fall, sun outages are expected between October 4th and October 14th, 2023.

“The exact time and duration will vary from channel to channel. This is due to channels being received off different satellites in the arc. Each satellite is affected at a different time as the sun moves across the satellite arc. The approximate times for signal loss will be between 10:30 AM and 5:30 PM ET and will last for approximately five to fifteen minutes depending on the size of the dish.”

That certainly explains why Oklahoma and Texas had so many technical issues, given the game kicked off at 12 p.m. ET.

In the end, Oklahoma won a nail-biter of a game 34-30 after a last-minute touchdown drive led by quarterback Dillon Gabriel. But it was anyone’s game, even with two seconds left.

Texas and Oklahoma could meet in Dallas again in December for the Big 12 Championship. That is if both teams win the remainder of their games before they head off for the Southeastern Conference together next year.

A potential rematch would bring plenty of big plays, controversial calls and overall drama. But it looks like the signal issues wouldn’t be a problem.

This article appeared originally on The Western Journal.

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