The Invention of the Kiss Cam

May 22, 2014
A revolution in stadium displays gave birth to the kiss cam.

Neither the date nor place was recorded, but it was likely in the summer or fall of 1980 in the Los Angeles Dodger stadium: a camera zoomed in on a man and a woman and broadcast their faces onto a massive full-color video screen above the left-field bleachers. The man and the woman kissed. The crowd cheered. A cultural sensation was born.

We know this today as the kiss cam, a gimmick that has been regularly featured on the video boards of almost every sports stadium and arena in the United States for the past three decades. During lulls in the sporting action, the venue cameras zoom in on people, making their faces billboard-sized, and under the pressure of crowd goading or stadium etiquette, or perhaps even by obligation to a short tradition, the people kiss. Hundreds of millions of people have seen the kiss cam over the years — maybe even billions.