LaLiga, MEDIAPRO Win Big at SPIA Ceremony
LaLiga and MEDIAPRO have scooped up a SPIA award for their innovative audiovisual broadcasting of football matches. SPIA, the conference and awards platform of the Asian sports industry, held its sixth awards ceremony to distinguish the top actors in the fields of the sports business, tourism, technology, marketing and sponsorships, as well as picking Asia’s top team and sportsmen and women.
This year, due to the circumstances caused by the COVID-19 pandemic, they created a special awards edition recognising the world of sport’s response to the situation. Two hundred and fifty experts voted for the winners in seven categories, including ‘sports technology innovation of the year’, an award won by LaLiga in conjunction with MEDIAPRO for the way in which they adapted their broadcasting technology to the matches.
“It’s an honour for LaLiga’s work on innovation projects to receive recognition, as it is one of the pillars of our strategy, and even more so in such an important forum for our region,” says Ivan Codina, LaLiga’s director for South-East Asia, assured with regard to the award.
In this edition, with an international scope as in previous years, in addition to technological innovation, the awards categories comprised the best marketing campaign, giving back to the community, volunteering service, sports education campaign, campaign through eSports and the ‘public service hero’.
COVID-19 forced matches to be played behind closed doors for public health reasons, and in response to this – in a pioneering move in the world of sport– LaLiga and MEDIAPRO resolved to create a virtual tribune and audio to simulate the presence of fans.
“When games started behind closed doors, at LaLiga we identified the need to continue broadcasting them in a way that reminded people of the broadcasts with crowds, so that viewers would feel they were as similar as possible, and we managed it,” explains Melcior Soler, the director of LaLiga’s audiovisual department. “To do so we created a virtual stand to remind them of the packed ones they used to see on TV and we used audio recorded in each stadium, taking care to make sure it matched the action. Implementing this type of technology was a real challenge for everyone.”
Òscar Lago, Head of LaLiga Match Production at MEDIAPRO adds: “The implementation of the stands and virtual audio in record time has meant an unprecedented challenge for MEDIAPRO and LaLiga crews alike. An experience that has allowed audiences to forget they were watching a match being played in an empty stadium, helping fans to experience games with the same passion and atmosphere similar to the one they had before the pandemic”.
Furthermore, due to the fans’ absence, new camera positions were found occupying the seats where the fans used to sit, improving the camera angles and offering novel shots that have never been seen before. LaLiga now also has more stadiums with aerial cameras – 12 in total – which provide a unique perspective of the game, along with the use of drones for other aerial shots, 360° replays in eight of its stadiums, together with other remarkable audiovisual innovations to produce a peerless televised spectacle.