SVG Europe’s UK Summit Looks Forward to ‘Summer of Sport’
The iconic Lord’s Cricket Ground in London was host to the first SVG Europe SportTechUK Summit, and it was a fitting location given that the topic of the day was the upcoming “Summer of Sport,” which will feature such iconic events as the Summer Olympics, Wimbledon, the Open, and the Paralympics. Discussions focused on how those events will be produced, their impact on the UK sport-production market, and the state of business in Great Britain.
Roger Mosey, director of London 2012 for the BBC, began the proceedings with an overview of how the Olympics will affect the entire programming lineup for the nation’s public broadcasting service.
Mosey’s presentation was followed by two panels that put the state of the sport-production business into larger focus. The biggest concerns among the panelists and audience members is that, while UK networks are known for high-quality sport productions, the current economic climate is putting more pressure than ever on OB and production partners that, eventually, may affect the on-air look and quality of productions in a noticeable way.
The challenge of discovering the next generation of sport-production talent also was a topic of discussion. The need for more qualified IT and broadcast-engineering professionals is a vexing problem the world over, and a range of solutions — from having SVG Europe work more closely with industry associations to exposing professors to the current sport-production environment and increasing the number of internships — were touched on during the sessions.
After a quick networking break, the event continued with an overview of the productions of the iconic events this summer. The good news for sport fans the world over is that the Olympics and the resulting demand for OB production services will have no negative impact on the more traditional UK sport events like Wimbledon and the Open. Those annual events have long-term contracts with OB companies, and those companies — notably, SIS Live, Visions, and CTV — made clear throughout the day that the commitment to long-term partners trumps any opportunities for business related to the Summer Games.
CTV Technical Director Hamish Grieg, for example, discussed his company’s role at the Open. During that event, the company provides OB services to ESPN, layering in an additional 60 cameras on the course to provide a wide variety of new angles for U.S. coverage of the event. He believes that a ripple effect from the Summer Olympics will be an increase in qualified sport-production professionals throughout the UK, which would benefit everyone in the industry.
The event concluded with a look at some of the strategies the BBC, London 2012, and others have for creating apps and Internet content around the Olympics. Alex Balfour, head of new media for London 2012, noted that creating apps that get the most out of the large number of devices on the market is a challenge but added that both those who visit Olympic events and those who simply want to follow the action from mobile devices will find comprehensive offerings that help them follow specific athletes, locate venues, and more.
Look for more coverage of this important SVG Europe first next week at SVG Europe’s Website.