At the beginning of this college football season, Fox Sports 1, a fledging cable channel that’s still attempting to find its footing in an ESPN-dominated world, stumbled into a goldmine. As it turned out, they had the broadcast rights to the biggest, most in-demand game of the opening day of the season: The first Michigan game coached by Jim Harbaugh, the eccentric, successful, and extremely entertaining former NFL head coach who returned to his alma mater in the offseason. Harbaugh was the story of college football’s offseason, on the cover of every major sports magazine and so popular that a photo of him going shirtless in his signature khakis for a practice became the most viral image of the summer. And Fox Sports 1, desperate for ratings and hype, had his debut.
So they pulled out all the stops. The biggest innovation of all was a camera they referred to as Khaki Cam. You could watch the game on their channel, and, as a complement, you could log onto FoxSports.com and watch the Khaki Cam, which was, simply, a camera that was on Harbaugh the whole game. One cameraman was charged with pointing his Khaki Cam on Harbaugh and never leaving him. It didn’t matter what happened in the game. It didn’t matter whether Michigan won or lost. It didn’t matter what anyone else was doing at all. It was just the Khaki Cam. The story was Harbaugh, and nothing else.
This is not exactly what happened at the Reagan library on Wednesday night—but the effect was definitely there.