The live broadcasting of sports is lined by a unique characteristic - it is time sensitive. Much like news, premium content should be consumed and best monetised at the very instance of its creation. There is little time for preparation, rectification and rehearsals. The situation is dynamic in nature, and changes by every passing second; slightest of a glitch can be caught on screen. Thus, good planning, reliability and security of the whole supply chain becomes a fundamental need. The coverage of modern sporting events involves the optimisation of technological and human resources. Sports venues for example, are starting to resemble interactive entertainment theme parks today.
“Sport is no longer about just winning the score. It’s now more about beating the opponent to gain more audience attention. Publicity means more revenue, and bearing in mind how insanely high the financial burden is related to sustaining a mid or high-level team, technology is an excellent instrument to leverage fan affection, loyalty and interest converting it into pure income. That’s why sport related broadcasting and content are among the few areas showing significant growth in the past years, and investments in that direction will certainly continue to expand on a remarkable scale,” explained Stoyanov.
Media production is a creative process, which utilises technology to augment the process - not change it. Broadcasters are thus, traditionally gradual in their approach to technology adoption and integration, to make sure they preserve the human element.
“Think about the business of broadcasters – it’s about creating valuable content that they can sell, whether to advertisers or as subscriptions, to name two examples. Emerging technologies such as AI can help, but at the end of the day it still comes down to quality storytelling and information packaging,” said Gepner.
Combining increased reliability with bandwidth efficiency; portable HEVC units enable sports producers and broadcasters to capture all the angles of dynamic events.
– Ranjit Bhatti, director – South Asia, LiveU Ltd.
Competition, irrespective of whether it is on the field or around it, always results in the invention of new, and betterment of existing technology. A broadcaster is willing to do everything to make sure its consumer is having a good experience. “There is an ongoing silent race towards making digital viewership equal or even better than the real live experience. Current trending resolutions and formats such as HD, 4K, 8K, the remarkable quality of audio surround combined with all angle camera perspective are replicating, if not augmenting, in a realistic manner the experience of onsite attendance. No wonder more and more fans prefer the sofa to the stadium. Just wait and see what will happen when VR enters the game,” exclaimed Stoyanov.
“It is fair to say that the overall growth of data networks as essential life fabric will continue to integrate technology more seamlessly into our daily lives, and enable the transformation of ideas into ‘media’ in a very egalitarian way. It is never a done deal with technology, however. I have seen technology that should have been adopted fall by the wayside for reasons that are not always clear. The number of levers that need to be in the right position for a technology to break through is very high,” asserted Gepner.
The same tools and technologies will allow real media companies to provide features like true interactivity with content, expand the use of augmented reality to make media immersive, lower the overall latency from acquisition to consumption, and in turn make media the language by which we communicate.
Having said that, the distribution infrastructure, bandwidth, screen resolution capabilities, time shifting can result in a weak spot. Optimisation, wider standard adoption and unification, flexible pricing models, and deeper internet penetration seem to be among the viable remedies. Mobility is also something crucial for a successful sportscasting business model, and often results in one of the biggest threats in financial and equipment scaling.