The network, during the broadcast of the Heat’s 108-101 win in Game 1 of their Eastern Conference semifinals series at Madison Square Garden, showed basic footage of the Statue of Liberty while cutting back from a promo during halftime.
Now, that’s a very normal thing to do. But at the bottom of the screen, fans quickly noticed the old World Trade Center in the background. The two buildings, known as the “Twin Towers,” collapsed during the 9/11 terrorist attacks in 2001.
That means that the footage ESPN used is at least more than two decades old.
— Awful Announcing (@awfulannouncing) April 30, 2023
ESPN apologized for the error shortly after the game.
“We mistakenly used an old stock image, and we apologize,” the network said in a brief statement, via Awful Announcing.
While it’s generally not an issue to use old stock footage like this for promos during games, ESPN somehow picked an old image of the most recognizable skyline in the United States from before one of the worst attacks in this country’s history. It’s not like that’s going to go unnoticed.
And to make matters worse, the attacks were so long ago that New York City has already completely replaced the World Trade Center complex and erected the One World Trade Center next to the iconic memorial in lower Manhattan. The skyline looks very different now than it did before the 9/11 attacks.
The Heat beat the Knicks by seven points on Sunday afternoon to take the early 1-0 lead in the series. Game 2 is set for Tuesday night in New York.