The COVID-19 pandemic has dramatically changed live sporting events. The NBA created a VIP-only bubble; meanwhile, MLB teams played before crowds of cardboard fans. Turns out, a pandemic also leads to lousy b-roll footage. After all, how’s a videographer supposed to capture the energy of an empty stadium? Well, last week, the Union of European Football Associations found the answer: shooting a 90-second highlight reel of staffers eating cheese sandwiches on the sidelines.
The sandwich footage comes courtesy of sports journalist Timothy Burke. Burke tweeted:
“UEFA has a regulated pre-match broadcast rundown that at one point calls for an exactly 90 second melt of crowd shots. Austria went into lockdown so Rapid’s match today against West Ham had no fans. So the melt is highlights of UEFA staffers eating cheese sandwiches.”
Quick note: in this case, the term “melt” has nothing to do with cheese. A melt is a sports broadcast term that refers to a compilation of the day’s events, a bit like a highlight reel. Since this game took place in Austria, the site of yet another pandemic lockdown, it wasn’t open to spectators—hence, the sandwich-driven melt.
The 90-second sandwich footage is extremely funny, with dramatic zooms showcasing the half-eaten sandwiches. And while many of the sandwiches in the footage appear to be of the cheese variety, one of Burke’s followers points out that some of them were actually schnitzel sandwiches. “Glad I ate mine indoors,” the commenter replied, suggesting that they had attended the event and experienced the sandwiches firsthand.
While the sandwich footage is delightful, I can’t help but feel for the UAFE officials. I mean, have you ever been caught snarfing down a cheese sandwich during a live sports broadcast? I haven’t, though there is video footage of six-year-old me wrenching a ballet leotard out of my butt during a production of The Nutcracker.
We can all learn something from our sandwich-eating friends. If you’re at a sporting event when the cameras start rolling, proceed with caution—especially if sandwiches are involved.