BYU basketball fans may go to the games with a little more excitement — or caution — knowing they could be caught on the Kiss Cam.
The Kiss Cam is an event that happens during timeouts at BYU basketball games. The camera zooms in on a couple, which prompts them to kiss in front of the audience. These moments can be both adorable and awkward, which makes it entertaining for the crowd.
The Kiss Cam has been around as long as Jumbotrons have. Back in 1982, the Los Angeles Dodgers installed the first giant video screen in Dodger Stadium, according to an article by Jezebel. Their use caught on as teams used them to entertain the fans during the frequent breaks in baseball.
Creative use of the Jumbotrons inspired the Kiss Cam, and countless sporting events have used the scoreboard to show hilarious moments of PDA (public displays of affection). The Kiss Cam is seen in the MLB, NBA, NFL — and here at BYU.
“I think the reason that it works so well at BYU is because BYU is notoriously known as a cheesy fanbase that loves PDA, but appropriate PDA,” Weston Wride, the BYU athletics promotion coordinator, said. “So anytime our fans get to see a couple being cheesy or borderline inappropriate, it’s hilarious.”
Due to its popularity, the Kiss Cam can be seen at other events, such as women’s soccer and football.
“From a production standpoint, we’re always trying to provide more value to a sporting event,” Wride said. “That Kiss Cam, especially at men’s basketball (games), has evolved into this ‘I can’t wait’ moment for fans because you know they’re either going to find some people to go at it or some dude who totally gets shafted by the girl.”
There are countless relationship situations shown on the Kiss Cam. There are parents at games with their children, young married students, engaged couples, people on their first date or even siblings, which creates uncomfortable situations. Older couples kissing are one of the crowd favorites on the Kiss Cam. Often the husband is not paying attention and the wife has to nudge him to tell him that they need to kiss for the camera.
“Isn’t that the perfect (representation) of an older marriage?” Wride said. “Where the husband is getting older and doesn’t know what’s going on, and his wife is his pair of eyes.”
Awkward experiences on the Kiss Cam are the ultimate fan favorites, but it is not as fun for the people involved. One such person is Rachel Alderman, a freshman from Eagle, Idaho. Alderman was at a BYU men’s basketball game this season with a guy she had been dating. Although they were dating, they had not yet kissed — that is, until the Kiss Cam focused on the two of them.
“I don’t know how I knew, maybe because my lips have a sixth sense,” Alderman said. “Or because my roommates were pointing me out … or because I knew somewhere up in the tech room (a friend) was plotting against me. But suddenly, there I was staring up at myself and the boy in the big screen with a little heart around us.”
Unfortunately for the boy, the kiss was shorter than he had hoped. Alderman kissed him, but she thought that a “peck for the crowd would be sufficient.” The camera lingered on the couple as a punishment for her short kiss, so she kissed him on the cheek as an apology.
Their relationship did not work out, but Alderman now looks back on the experience with humor and has no hard feelings toward the Kiss Cam.
“It was one of those memories I’ll always love telling to people,” Alderman said. “I enjoy watching other people on the Kiss Cam during games, but even if the kiss looks normal when the camera is rolling, there is always a continuation of the story. I would do it again in a heartbeat, if not for honor, then for the glory of redemption.”
As embarrassing as the Kiss Cam can be, people like Alderman are excited to pucker up for the camera.
Andrew Roach, a senior from Provo, was excited to cross off an item on his bucket list by kissing on the Kiss Cam. While attending a BYU gymnastics meet in the Marriott Center with a blind date, opportunity knocked. Roach was excited when the Kiss Cam segment began, showing older couples kissing. Then, he made eye contact with the cameraman, who moved his camera to face Roach and his blind date.
“I’m looking up at the Jumbotron and all of a sudden it comes on to me and my blind date that I’ve never met until then, (who) I’ve known for half an hour,” Roach said. “So I turn to her and say, ‘We’re on the Kiss Cam!’ and she’s like, ‘No.’ It stayed on us for what felt like a really long time … and so she said I could kiss her on the cheek, and (the camera) swiveled off.”
Roach was not too embarrassed about the situation until he returned, on Monday, to a high school where he student teaches and one of his students mentioned that she saw him on the Kiss Cam. Nevertheless, he still likes the Kiss Cam and hopes to kiss someone when the camera is focused on him again.
“It’s still on my bucket list,” Roach said. “Someday I will smooch a girl right on the mouth on the Kiss Cam. … It’s spontaneous, hilarious, exciting, butterflies in your stomach. In general, I think it’s great — unless it’s my parents.”