‘kiss cam’: meaning and early occurrences

The American-English noun kiss cam (also kisscam) denotes a camera which scans a sports arena, and then focuses in on a couple who are encouraged to kiss while their image is displayed to the crowd on a large screen—as described by Joe Capozzi in Marlins notebook, published in The Palm Beach Post (West Palm Beach, Florida) of Saturday 9th June 2001:

While the Marlins changed pitchers in the sixth inning Friday, the Beatles’ She Loves You played at the Skydrome Kiss Cam roamed the crowd, stopping at couples and flashing their faces on the Jumbotron with the words “Go ahead and kiss!” (The couples kiss and the crowd applauds.)

The earliest occurrence that I have found is, as kisscam, from the Associated-Press account of a basketball game between the Atlanta Hawks and the Los Angeles Lakers, published in many U.S. newspapers on Tuesday 20th March 2001—for example in The Spectrum (Saint George, Utah):

The “Kisscam” segment, in which fans are encouraged to kiss each other as they’re shown on the video board, ended with a superimposed picture showing O’Neal and Bryant together.

The second-earliest occurrence that I have found is from the column Inside the NHL 1, by Allen Panzeri, published in the Ottawa Citizen (Ottawa, Ontario) of Saturday 7th April 2001:

During Tuesday’s game between the Blue Jackets and the Red Wings at Nationwide Arena in Columbus, as Faith Hill’s 2 This Kiss played, the arena’s ‘Kiss Cam’ focussed on Red Wings Martin Lapointe and Brendan Shanahan, sitting side-by-side on the bench. Both saw themselves on the screen and shook their heads that, no, they weren’t about to follow the song’s advice. But then Steve Yzerman flew in and planted a smooch on Lapointe’s cheek. “I was playing hard-to-get and then he just slid in and cut my grass,” said Shanahan.

1 NHL: the National Hockey League, a professional ice hockey league in North America.
2 Faith Hill (Audrey Faith McGraw, née Perry – born 1967) is a U.S. singer.

Michael Russo evoked the same incident in his column On the NHL, published in the South Florida Sun-Sentinel (Fort Lauderdale, Florida) of Sunday 8th April 2001:

Funny thing happened at Columbus’ Nationwide Arena last week when the “Kiss Cam” panned the visiting Detroit Red Wings’ bench.

The term then occurs in an article by Tom Maloney about the SkyDome, a stadium in Toronto, published in the National Post (Toronto, Ontario) of Tuesday 10th April 2001:

In comes new owner Rogers Communications Inc., along with murals on the outfield fence to mark big moments, steamed hot dogs in the concessions and Delgado/Billy Koch bobblehead dolls. As the marketers are borrowing heavily from the San Diego Padres comeback strategy, they can do much more, such as awarding fans with frequent-attendance points. As it is, aside from the Kiss-Cam, much was the same—boring scoreboard, mechanical P.A. announcer Murray Eldon, irritating mascots in the lower deck, loud fireworks clouding the stadium.

The following is from Who’s on America’s Side?, an interesting article by Maureen Dowd, published in The New York Times (New York City, N.Y.) of Tuesday 17th July 2012:

Usually, at this stage of a presidential campaign, Republicans are doing a much better job of sullying the Democratic candidate as un-American.
[…] The G.O.P. has had so much practice over the last four years at skewering Barack Obama 3 as an existentialist socialist apologist for America with a secret foreign birth certificate that it should be like shooting mahi-mahi in a barrel.
It’s hard for the haters to get traction when the president and his wife are looking so all-American, smooching for the “kiss cam” at the U.S. vs. Brazil basketball game here Monday night, as the lovely Malia excitedly looked on.

3 The Democratic statesman Barack Obama (born 1961) was the 44th President of the USA from 2009 to 2017.

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