Live football in the summer, but not as we know. As the Premier League returns the experience for both players and fans will be different. Empty stadiums and strict health and safety protocols will be in place with this ‘new normal’ in place the remainder of the 19/20 season creating a number of challenges for broadcasters and content producers.
With fans at home, there is a higher demand for content. Organizations have been working from home during the pandemic and this isn’t set to change. There will be photographers, camera operators, and reduced club staff but nothing similar to the usual matchday set up. Project restart will commence on the 17th June, with all remaining Premier League and FA Cup matches being played by 1st August. Over the past few months, there has been plenty of innovative content to keep fans busy until the restart of football.
The rise of Esports
The football season was paused at the beginning of March, creating a unique challenge for content creators. No matches, and no access to players with fans having more time to engage with social channels, innovation had to take place quickly. Esports, predominantly FIFA20, became the go-to for many channels. Bringing fans closer to the players by using the popular game allowed fans to relate to the players in a way that’s never been possible before. The quick fix at the start of lockdown became a successful engagement method. Several clubs, players, and organizations got involved. The #StaydandPlay campaign was created and several tournaments were launched including the #PLInviational, where a player from each Premier League club played FIFA20 to be crowned champion.
The campaign went global with football teams and players getting involved. Whilst this was a short term fix, it allowed fans to see the players in their homes and add authenticity to social channels. Creating content like this was simple for producers. The only equipment required for the players was a console and a camera and for the producers a laptop. No studio or camera crew required. Working in the cloud and producing the live streams remotely made it possible for fans to stay connected with their clubs and favorite players.
In addition to esports, archive re-watches from clubs, leagues, and The English FA have taken place over the past few months. Fans have been able to re-live their favorite moments and historic wins. Euro 96 was played out in its entirety on ITV whilst The FA has been playing a selection of England’s greatest matches on their YouTube channel. The Lionesses launched a virtual coffee club via google hangouts, with a number of players joining the series from their homes.
Archive footage is a simple and effective way to provide fans with content. It can be produced in the cloud with additional graphics and commentary added to the broadcast of the footage. An easy piece of content to push out on social channels while working from home without the usual office setup and equipment.
There are 92 remaining Premier League games to be played over a few months, with a match almost every day and the knockout stages of the FA Cup. Whilst fans have been kept entertained over the past few months, there is great anticipation for the restart of the league. This will inflate audience sizes, already seen in the Bundesliga, as thousands of fans can’t attend the stadiumds. Content needs to remain innovative as there will be a void left by the lack of the usual matchday content such as the tunnel walkout, handshaking, and crowd celebrations.
Post season celebrations?
As the end of the season approaches, fans will be looking at their results and those of the teams around them. These increased audiences provide content producers with a new opportunity as there are no game clashes. The desire to watch live football content will enable greater cut-through of content but how can this be done successfully from home?
Remote production and cloud technologies will be put to the test with heavy reliance on them by crew and production teams across the league. Producers will need to re-think how to engage fans pre and post-match. Broadcasters can conduct limited interviews pitchside with backdrops and distancing but panel shows in studios are all on hold for the foreseeable future. This could lead to a shift towards fan-led discussion and a continuation of remote guest participation.
It's not over until it's over!— Match of the Day (@BBCMOTD) May 30, 2020
One of the many mad games we've seen over the years in the Premier League. 👇
The MOTD Top 10 Podcast this week looks at the greatest Premier League matches.
Watch on @BBCOne at 22:20 (BST), listen on @BBCSounds now 👉 https://t.co/utLvlenTnc pic.twitter.com/5yIT0TZGrV
Is cloud production the future?
Cloud production provides endless opportunities due to scalability and flexible cost management. Without the requirement for hardware investment, it may lead clubs and leagues to make a permanent shift to the cloud long-term. There is uncertainty surrounding how the 20/21 season will be played; reduced fans, no fans and scrapping the 3pm broadcast blackout, there is a great opportunity for an increased adoption rate of cloud production.
To learn more about Grabyo and how we are helping global broadcasters, rights holders and media companies overcome these challenges with our cloud-based video production and editing platform – get in touch today.