Eurosport presents the Olympics Games in 3D
By Birgit Heidsiek, SVG Europe German correspondent
Eurosport kicked off the Olympic Games on July 25 and 26 with the live transmission of the first group matches. In addition, the leading European sports channel launched the daily live show Together to London. For the first time, Eurosport is transmitting the Olympic Games in 3D, distributing more than 100 programme hours over the Sky 3D and Virgin Media platforms in Great Britain and some selected distribution outlets from Panasonic all over Europe.
Eurosport offers its viewers the chance to watch the Olympic Games on four different screens: on television at Eurosport, online at the computer via the Eurosport Player (www.eurosportplayer.de), which is available in 50 countries as well as on tablets and smartphones via the Player App, which can be downloaded in 33 countries. The approach is to provide sports fans with live access to the Olympic decisions in London, wherever the fans are and whenever they want.
The flexible live transmissions, split screens, and news in brief make it possible that fans can see all the medal ceremonies of the Olympic Games. Eurosport is present in 15 mixed zones, among them the live mixed zones for swimming, athletics, and track cycling. The reporting started with the preliminary round of the Olympic soccer match.
“Content-wise, we are very flexible with our line of approach. Each time when a decision is made, we switch live — no matter what kind of discipline it is. This way, our viewers don’t miss any medal winners or other important events,” stresses François Schmitt, deputy managing director, Broadcast & Technology, for Eurosport. “We mainly focus on the classic Olympic disciplines, such as athletics, swimming, gymnastics, or weightlifting, which Eurosport covers all year long.”
Eurosport takes a different approach to those taken by national broadcasters ARD and ZDF as well as by ORF, SRG, and BBC. “We don’t look at the events from a national point of view but take a more general European perspective,” Schmitt notes. “We are always on the spot if something is happening — regardless of the nationality of the athletes. Eurosport is more interested in the main idea of the Olympics to connect various nations than in celebrating national heroes. And one issue is particularly important for us: live sports always come first!”
Olympic champions and former world-record holders Maurice Greene (athletics) and Pieter van den Hoogenband (swimming) are the international experts leading the Eurosport team. In total, 350 commentators are reporting in 20 language versions. In 2008, German commentators Sigi Heinrich and Dirk Thiele were decorated with the German Television Award for their excellent coverage of the Beijing Olympic Games.
This time, Eurosport is reporting 24 hours nonstop about the Olympic Games and comes up with 14 hours of live coverage from London distributed over 12 international multilateral satellite feeds. Coverage of the Olympic Games is delivered completely in HDTV, Eurosport having beamed native HD for the first time at the Beijing Olympics.
For the Olympic Games 2012, 600 Eurosport employees are in the field all over Europe, including 100 staff members. The six ENG crews in London are equipped with the Panasonic P2.
The centerpiece is the daily live show Together to London. “Eurosport’s daily studio show is edited mostly in London, where we have three edit stations in the IBC and also six ENG crews who attend the live events,” adds Schmitt. “All the event reports are edited in the IBC also.”
The comprehensive Olympic coverage is rounded up by time-staggered transmissions and exclusive programmes such as English Breakfast and London Eye. “The morning magazine show English Breakfast reviews the overnight action and looks ahead to the day’s events, and London Eye is our short daily update segment,” says Schmitt. “The summary of the events are the exceptions and are edited in Paris.”