New tech innovations coming to sports broadcasting

It’s a new world out there with things not being quite the same, and with that changes and innovation are abound with sports broadcasting being a great example. In addition to everything else we do here, we’re also big sports fans and with news around some of the action due to return (football specifically) we’re as much excited as the next sports fanatic.

Technology is playing a huge role in making this a reality, LaLiga (the men’s top professional football division of the Spanish football league system) recently highlighted how exactly. Just a few days before the league resumes, LaLiga announced new broadcast experiences that will effectively form part of the remaining eleven matchdays of the current 2019/20 season.

Matches across LaLiga Santander and LaLiga SmartBank are set to look and sound different, this was confirmed yesterday by Javier Tebas (LaLiga President) in an interview on Movistar show El Partidazo #VolverEsGanar.’

In the interview it was interesting to find out that gamification elements will form a large part of the new experience:

“We’ve been working with a Norwegian company and EA Sports and with the match sounds from their FIFA games. When you play FIFA, you’re actually hearing a real stadium atmosphere. The virtual atmosphere will be very good.”

Implemented with the help of the league’s production partner, Mediapro, the implementation will be carried out in two main areas. The first one is through virtualisation of the stands and fan audio with the second being new camera positions, giving us (the viewers) an entirely new and interesting viewing experience.

“We have made these broadcasting changes so fans can enjoy LaLiga,” said Tebas. “We work with global partners to offer a great viewer experience. We are in an exceptional situation, but for us it has been important to be able to adapt and offer a compelling, cutting-edge broadcast to our fans.”

As mentioned prior, virtualisation, which we have seen being used in interesting ways before, is set to form a large part of this project with the stands set to be rendered in a virtualised manner to offer to-scale images of seated fans wearing the colours of the home team. LaLiga called upon Norwegian company VIZRT to develop this proposed digital experience.

The information we gathered also goes further to detail what will happen in moments when the game is stopped. In such instances, the image of the fans will be transformed into a canvas that matches the colour of the home team and will carry institutional messages among other offerings.

As for the virtual sound, LaLiga collaborated with none other than EA SPORTS FIFA, in a project called Sounds of the Stands. EA has recorded atmospheres, sounds and audio from real stadiums which have all been neatly stored in a LaLiga audio library. This audio has been digitally adapted to be easily implemented in real time during matches.

LaLiga is set to resume this coming Thursday, it should be quite the experience. It should also be interesting to see how it all plays out in the end. If it proves the trick then it could be something we see being implemented in more settings, especially in sports broadcasting.