CBS Super Bowl coverage; 3 ways the NBA is innovating its broadcast experience; and the return of the Patriots pop-up? All that’s new in the shifting sports media landscape.
By James Emmett and David Cushnan
In partnership with:
If you haven’t already, sign up for free to receive the bulletin straight to your inbox every second Thursday.
DAZN follows Turner and NBC Universal in switch to German licence
CBS Super Bowl coverage by the numbers
3 ways the NBA is innovating its broadcast experience
Testing deal for Sky and F1
Pete Andrews takes top Channel 4 sport job
Lazarus given more NBC responsibility
Nick Wilson to run Endeavor Streaming
Simon Cothliff takes Head of Broadcast role at STATS
Fox Sports and WBBL open up IP for fans on social
FC Barcelona launch in-house production firm
Costco flirting with OTT idea
The return of the Patriots pop-up?
Thanks for clicking and welcome along to the latest Broadcast Disruptors Bulletin, your hopefully indispensable guide to everything that’s new, exciting and likely to impact your sports broadcasting world. As ever, we’re keen to hear from you – opinion, insight, ideas and industry news can be sent to [email protected] and [email protected].
Last week’s news that DAZN has applied to operate its German, Austrian, Italian and soon-to-be-launched Spanish services under German licence was a timely reminder that the sports broadcast world is not immune from the political turmoil sweeping across Europe.
Amid continuing uncertainty about the status of the Ofcom licences granted in the UK and covering the whole of Europe in a post-Brexit world, DAZN is the latest broadcaster to make the switch. Turner and NBC Universal have already switched to German licences, while Eurosport parent Discovery has opted for a Netherlands registration – along with a new facility in the country – to ensure that its services aren’t disrupted. Reports have also suggested the BBC is discussing applying for licences in Ireland or the Netherlands to ensure it is covered for retransmission to markets outside the UK.
Broadcast licensing in a post-Brexit Europe is, of course, an issue that affects media and entertainment far beyond sport. There are around 3,000 TV channels currently in operation across the EU. Ofcom currently licenses around 1,000 of them from their British bases within the UK.
CBS is broadcasting its 20th Super Bowl a week on Sunday, with the usual high expectations around advertising revenue and ratings. The game, at Mercedes-Benz Stadium, will be preceded by the traditional lengthy build-up – CBS is promising seven hours of pre-game coverage – and will feature a number of firsts, including the use of several augmented reality cameras. CBS, however, has confirmed that game coverage won’t feature discussion on sports betting.
Source: TV Technology
In the mixed zone with… Sam Farber, Vice President, Digital Media, NBA
How are NBA game telecasts evolving?
The game telecast for a lot of sports has been relatively unchanged for a long time – and in no way is that a knock on any of our network partners, who do a ridiculously good job. What’s scary for us is when you look at Generation Z, you have a group who are digital natives but also ‘cord-nevers’ – they never had a cable package. When you look at the way they are consuming media and entertainment, it’s very different. That’s forcing us to look at how we can innovate the game telecast experience, to bring a new look and feel to engage this audience.
What are you working on to enhance the viewing experience?
We’ve experimented in three areas with the camera angles and physical display of our game. The first is a mobile-feed – League Pass, our direct-to-consumer product, has a zoomed in look at our games, which was really inspired by a meeting we had with Facebook several years ago. We were using big, wide-angle made for TV on our Instagram feed; switched to a zoomed view and it doubled our engagement rate on Instagram at the time. On League Pass it’s created a ton of engagement – this year, mobile-view stats in League Pass are up 67%. 94% of people watch video vertically on their phones – Snapchat certainly helped change that behaviour and now it’s the norm. We’re working on vertical orientation of games. And the third is isolation cam, a camera that focuses on one player.
What is the NBA doing in terms of making game broadcasts more interactive?
People can’t just sit and pay attention to something. We see that behaviour while people are watching games. They wonder about the statistics of players on the court, they wonder what other people are saying about it, they wonder if something’s gone viral. The more we can try and integrate all those extra pieces of information into the game experience itself, the better. I think Twitch do a great job of that with Twitch chat. We have just launched, in League Pass in select international markets, a chat where people talk about the game as it’s going on. But it extends beyond that: there’s interactive overlays with statistics, there can be polling, gaming. We’ve just announced a deal with Twitter in the US where we’ll make the iso-cam available on Twitter for some games on TNT. The twist is that fans will be able to vote on who the camera focuses on, so it will be completely user-generated. We’re really trying to find ways to empower our fans and have them make an impact on what they are experiencing and consuming.
Sam Farber was speaking at last week’s Leaders Meet Innovation event in London.
Sky to broadcast F1 testing
Sky Sports in the UK has confirmed it will broadcast live coverage of Formula One pre-season testing from Barcelona in mid-February. The broadcaster, which has taken over exclusive live coverage of the series in the country from this year, has committed to five hours a day of live coverage. It is expected that F1TV, Formula One’s own streaming service, will also broadcast live from the test. Sky previously broadcast pre-season testing live in 2013, as a way of promoting its 3D service.
THE JOBS BOARD
Pete Andrews is Channel 4’s new Head of Sport. The former BBC Sport executive will be working across a portfolio including the 2020 Paralympic Games, highlights of Formula One and live Heineken Champions Cup rugby.
NBC Sports’ Chairman Mark Lazarus has been given further responsibilities in a rejig of executive roles at NBCUniversal following confirmation of the company’s new streaming service due to launch next year. His new remit covers cable and news, as well as sport, and he’ll be reporting to Chief Executive Steve Burke.
Endeavor’s Chief Technology Officer Nick Wilson will run the company’s new Endeavor Streaming service, which has absorbed NeuLion and attracted WWE as a new client, alongside Will Staeger. Staeger was previously a Senior Vice President of IMG’s original content division.
Serious to STATS
Sports data firm STATS has hired Simon Cothliff as its new Head of Broadcast and Media Sales. He joins from Serious Sports Media Group and will oversee commercial relationships with broadcasters.
Fox Sports’ coverage of Saturday’s Women’s Big Bash League final, between Brisbane Heat and Sydney Sixers, will include a world first, with viewers able to create and share a video highlight taken from live coverage and share via Facebook Messenger. Clip Share, the technology for which has been developed by Snapscreen Australia, will be a feature available in the Fox Cricket app. It’s believed to be the first time viewers of a live sports broadcast will have the legitimate ability to clip IP direct from the rights holding broadcaster and share highlights straight to social.
Barca moves all content in-house
FC Barcelona has confirmed the creation of a dedicated production company which will produce all club content. Barça Studios will also be responsible for a revamped Barça TV service when it becomes operational during the summer. Barca TV has been run by Telefónica since 2015.
Whatever the Costco
After Walmart’s reported flirtation with its own streaming video service, another retailer, Costco, is now considering a plan to launch a proposition aimed at ‘average Americans’. The man behind the plan is TV executive Mark Greenberg, who was in talks last year with Walmart before the retail giant opted not to pursue the idea.
The New England Patriots are heading back to the Super Bowl for the ninth year in 18 a week on Sunday – and perhaps the build-up in Atlanta will see a return of the team’s ‘pop-up’ 24 hour sports network, which covered the Patriots’ every move from a purpose-built studio in a Minnesota mall and kept fans engaged during the week before last year’s big game. At league level, meanwhile, the NFL’s ‘Super Bowl Opening Night’ – a prime-time version of the infamous Media Day – will return for a second year. The show will be broadcast by NFL Network and CBS Sports Network on Monday, as the Patriots and Rams arrive in Atlanta.
Thanks for reading this edition of the Broadcast Disruptors Bulletin. We’ll have another for you a fortnight today; and if you haven’t subscribed yet, do remember to opt-in here.
Leaders Week New York
20 - 23 May 2019