Remembering the “Game of the Century,” Hawaii’s first live television broadcast

Remembering Hawaii

Photo: AP

On November 19th, 1966, the first live television broadcast between Hawaii and the mainland took place. Fittingly, it was a football game, the so-called “Game of the Century” between #2 Michigan State and #1 Notre Dame. Both teams entered the game undefeated and left the game undefeated, as the final score was a 10-10 tie. Far from its billing as the Game of the Century, both teams combined for five fumbles, four interceptions and 25 incompletions.

To this day, the game is controversial to die hard fans of both universities: the Fighting Irish finished the season with the top rank, but both maintained they were the best team in the nation.

Strangely enough, the game was not shown on national TV. At the time, teams were allowed only one national TV slot and two regional appearances every two years. Notre Dame used their national appearance in their season opener, and the network executives planned for this game to be shown only regionally. However, given the stakes of the game, over 50,000 letters and telegrams were sent to the network asking/demanding it to be shown on the west coast and in southern states. It was shown on tape delay in those areas and blocked in North and South Dakota, qualifying it as a regional broadcast. It was only seen live in the local area, Hawaii, and to US soldiers in Vietnam.

Weeks before the game, the Lani Bird communications satellite was launched, establishing a live US-Hawaii link for up to eight hours per day, which enabled the game to be broadcast live in the islands. During halftime, color images of Waikiki were broadcast back to the mainland.

Copyright 2019 Nexstar Broadcasting, Inc. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed.