It is a nightmare scenario for any sports network: A power outage during the broadcast of a championship event.
With the World Series tied at 1–1 in the bottom of the fourth inning of Game 1 and lead announcer Joe Buck reading a promo for a new Fox show, The Grinder, Fox suddenly lost its transmission in Kansas City. What happened next? Viewers saw a graphic of the Fox Sports banner with the following message: “We are experiencing technical difficulties please stand by.” The coverage then shifted back to Fox Sports 1’s Los Angeles studios where a trio of understandably confused anchors explained that Fox had lost its connection to the broadcast.
After about five minutes of broadcast confusion—viewers missed Kendrys Morales striking out before play was held up—Fox picked up the MLB International feed, using announcers Matt Vasgersian and John Smoltz. The Fox Sports Twitter account tweeted out at 9:21 p.m. ET: “We apologize for technical difficulties with our #WorldSeries broadcast. We are working on fixing the issue ASAP.”
Alas, more problems came.
Fox’s pickup of the international broadcast feed was suddenly lost with one out in the fifth inning. The broadcast then went back to FS1’s studio in Los Angeles where FS1 anchor Dan O’Toole, in scramble mode, announced that broadcast was going back to Buck. It did not, as Fox returned to MLB International broadcast.
Eventually, Fox game announcers Buck, Harold Reynolds and Tom Verducci took over the MLB International broadcast booth, which was located next to Fox’s at Kauffman Stadium, taking the mics from Vasgersian and Smoltz.
Pam Chvotkin, working as part of the production crew of MLB Network's World Feed, said that Fox's production truck and part of MLB Network International feed's power generator blew causing technical difficulties. Kansas City's KCTV tweeted out footage of Fox production crew members working on the issue.
Buck said that given Fox’s technical issues, MLB did not have access to replay temporarily. That was ultimately restored. Buck apologized to the audience in the sixth inning for the broadcast losing power. The Fox broadcasters finished the game in their original broadcast booth.
In the eighth inning of the broadcast, Fox released the following statement:
“Before the start of the bottom of the fourth inning of tonight’s World Series Game 1, a rare electronics failure caused both the primary and backup generators inside the FOX Sports production compound to lose power. The issue was immediately addressed, although it resulted in the audience missing one at-bat during the time needed to switch to carriage of Major League Baseball’s international feed, powered by a different generator on site. The on-field delay was due to replay capability being lost in both team’s clubhouses. We apologize for the interruption in tonight’s coverage and are working to ensure that the remainder of the World Series is broadcast without incident.”