I'm watching the Champions League. I'm thousands of miles away from the stadium, yet the stadium screen, as shown in my own TV, shows the match with a delay with respect to my signal. Is that on purpose, to discourage players looking at the screen rather than the field?

Below an example where you can see both the field and the stadium screen. What I mean is that the later is delayed with respect to the former (can't tell from the photo). I am clearly seeing the stadium TV directly as light into my eyes and not indirectly as an input from the stadium TV signal into my TV's signal.

enter image description here

  • Your TV has the same delay from the live action on the field. You see on TV what you would see if you sat in the stadium, which includes the delay to that big screen.
    – Nij
    May 8 at 22:52
  • @Nij But why is there delay on the stadium' screen?
    – luchonacho
    May 9 at 14:06
  • BTW, a reference which I do not understand. reddit.com/r/explainlikeimfive/comments/bnvwe8/…
    – luchonacho
    May 9 at 14:08
  • If you're thousands of miles away, how do you know there's a delay? May 14 at 20:23
  • Also, I'm starting to doubt this is even on-topic to begin with. May 17 at 19:33

2 Answers 2


The stadium screen has the same effective delay as the television feed - they often are the exact same, with the TV feed getting additional graphics over top.

Suppose this delay is five seconds from the live action. A spectator at the stadium will see the ball be kicked and fly and enter the goal, and five seconds later it will repeat on the TV and big screen.

But the TV feed seeing the big screen is seeing what happened five seconds before that. The effective delay of the TV seeing screen is ten seconds from the live action: five seconds to get from live to screen, and five seconds to get from there to TV.

You will see whatever relative delays occur in the screen to the live action, because your TV gets everything delayed by the same amount.

You do not see what is on the screen at the exact same moment it would have appeared on television, because that would require the screen to see into the future by however much the TV is delayed from live action.

  • But I can see the screen in the stadium through the TV and it is evidently with delay with respect to the field action, which is what I can see on my own TV. I see a throw in happening before the stadium TV as shown in my own TV. I can confirm this BECAUSE sometimes the stadium TV is shown in the TV too. This is not a theoretical question.
    – luchonacho
    May 10 at 12:53
  • I have understood the question, I have watched enough sport live and in broadcast to know what it looks like. If you do not understand the answer, please clarify your actual issue with it.
    – Nij
    May 10 at 19:36

Why do I receive the match signal before the TV in the stadium?

the stadium screen shows the match with a delay with respect to my signal

As someone who works in the broadcast industry, I can guarantee you that is almost certainly not the case.

The delay on the stadium screen will only be a couple of frames, or at most a second or two. The delay on your TV, depending on how the signal gets delivered to you, will be at least multiple seconds (for cable or satellite) and up to a minute or more for IPTV.

I used to live about 10 km away from the Hockenheimring, back when Formula 1 was still racing there. Even though it took 30 s for the sound to travel from the start and finish straight to our house, I could still hear the start before I could see it on the TV.

Let's look at a simple example.

Let's assume the screen in the stadium has a delay of about 1 second, which I think is realistic. Let's further assume the signal in your TV has a delay of 10 seconds, which is also pretty realistic. Finally, let's assume the kickoff happens at exactly 17:00:00.

  1. The people in the stadium will see the kickoff happen on the field at 17:00:00.
  2. The people in the stadium will see the kickoff happen on the stadium screen at 17:00:01, i.e., 1 second after the kickoff happened.
  3. You will see the kickoff happen on the field through your TV at 17:00:10, i.e., 10 seconds after the kickoff happened and 9 seconds after it was shown on the stadium screen.
  4. You will see the kickoff happen on the stadium screen shown on your TV at 17:00:11, i.e., 11 seconds after the kickoff happened, 10 seconds after it was shown on the stadium screen, and 1 second after you saw the kickoff on the field through your TV.

So, the stadium screen does, in fact, receive the signal 9 seconds before you do.

I'm thousands of miles away from the stadium

If you are thousands of miles away from the stadium, how do you know that you the match arrives on your TV before it arrives on the screen in the stadium? You can't see the screen in the stadium!

  • Ok, but point 4 is exactly what I mean. I see in my TV kick-off in stadium at 17:00:10, and in my TV, kick-off through stadium screen at 17:00:11. So I am seeing the real delay on the stadium TV through my TV. My experience is that delay is about 1 second.
    – luchonacho
    May 13 at 0:42

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