may june - Page 10

Cover Story

Cover Story

Game on !

As live sports and events slowly re-emerge and we look forward to postponed championships , what can we expect from broadcasters as they marry what they have learned in AR and ‘ watch together ’ with the return of the crowds and global events ? Colin Mann talked to a range of industry experts to find out the score .

On the main learnings from covering events during a year largely without fans attending in person , Luke Gaydon , business development , sports , at Accedo , notes that sports organisations have needed to rethink the experience of match day . “ This means considering , not only the way that viewers interact with the game itself , but also all of the activity surrounding matches . The build-up and post-match analysis are more crucial than ever and offer an extended opportunity for content owners to connect with fans watching from home . Social distancing restrictions are leading to some creative social campaigns and sponsorship activations that help engage with viewers and create more of a buzz around events . One of the key takeaways should be the extra potential to monetise audience participation when organisations are not limited by stadium seats . I think we will see an increase in premium VR experiences in the coming years , offering fans a front row experience from their sofa ,” he predicts .

According to Ronan Poullaouec , chief technology officer at AVIWEST , without fans in stadiums and venues , one of the most important lessons learned is that fans want interaction , which has accelerated the broadcasting of programmes on social
“ We will see an increase in premium VR experiences , offering fans a front row experience .” - Luke Gaydon , Accedo
10 EUROMEDIA networks and Internet streaming platforms such as ‘ watch together ’ platforms . “ Content should be available on multiple devices and interactivity is an important point , while the use of cameras on-the-go in broadcasting live content has become more and more essential to address this notion and need for greater interactivity ,” he observes .
“ The key learning for us is how important fans are at creating the atmosphere and the colour of live sporting events ,” says Jamie Hindhaugh , chief operating officer , BT Sport . “ We are already seeing that as we are getting fans back into the grounds . Seeing fans back really reinforces how different it feels as an event . We did some brilliant stuff with crowd effects ; audio is a key signpost in any visual experience . That was needed to replace the fact that crowds weren ’ t there . We had our fan wall , bringing fans into our coverage . All those things were great when physically it wasn ’ t possible for fans to be there , but I think that fans coming back is by far the most exciting thing to be happening in live sport at the moment .” REMOTE . “ Fans want to have the match-day experience , whether it ’ s in person or not ,” suggests Chris Clarke , CEO , Cerberus Tech . “ There is a deeper understanding within the sports industry around the types of content consumers want to access , including an increase in demand for niche sports coverage and a wider variety of content formats . Due to the challenges of the pandemic , we are seeing an increase in remote production as broadcasters ’ awareness of efficient and costeffective solutions , such as IP delivery grows . It is now possible to contribute content from any location and deliver anywhere in the world , with low or no physical infrastructure and a remote cloud-based set-up . As we move out of the restrictions imposed by the pandemic ,
sports broadcasters are likely to retain the best parts of workflows which were initially adopted out of necessity . While fans will return to stadiums , there is a growing awareness of the importance of delivering a similar experience to those at home ,” he adds .
Gareth Capon , CEO , Grabyo , agrees that the need to bring fans closer to events when they cannot attend in person has led to new content formats and much greater trust in remote production and cloud technologies . “ Sports broadcasters , clubs and leagues have expanded digital output , with a much higher volume of live streaming and social video , to keep fans invested and engaged . For example , online communities are stronger than ever . Creating a space for fans to meet - be it a virtual forum or live video on social media – has been hugely popular with fans and will likely continue once social isolation measures are lifted worldwide .” “ The expansion of live games on TV , plus new streaming and social formats , means fans now have more choice and control over what they watch and how they watch it . Fans won ’ t want to give this up . Attitudes towards sponsor activations must shift now too . The value of digital assets has skyrocketed and there are ways to offer more personalised and engaging sponsor campaigns than ever before ,” he says . CREATIVE . “ Organisers and broadcasters of live events have gotten creative over the