BBC awards Olympic graphics contract

Deltatre Media and Mammoth Graphics have been awarded the contract to devise and produce live broadcast graphics for the BBC’s coverage of the London Olympics in 2012, writes UK Correspondent, Will Strauss.

The joint pitch was chosen as part of an official BBC tender process and will see the two companies provide the graphics themselves and operational staff, equipment and technical support for both live and non-live environments throughout the Games.

Importantly, Deltatre will also be gathering, managing and providing competition data for the BBC’s online coverage and combining it with the TV graphics output.

Deltatre Media head of video Jim Irving told SVG Europe that this ability to provide the data for each sport was crucial in winning the graphics pitch.

“What the BBC is looking for is an ability to deliver graphics in the live environment but it also wants innovative ideas and, importantly, how we can help to inform the viewer,” he said.

“We did a lot of work [in the pitch] on making sure that we were adding as much information as possible. Data is one our strengths. So when we do a start list for a final, for example, we can provide the winning times in the semis, showing the viewer who is most likely to win.”

The ability to translate otherwise unheralded TV sports for the layperson will be crucial for 2012 coverage, continued Irving.

“We’re conscious that people watching the Olympics may not be hardcore sports fans so we’ll be spending a lot of time working with the BBC to produce graphics that really inform the viewer and help them engage and understand who are the stars in sports they might not otherwise watch at other times of the year. “

With the data and graphics work being completed simultaneously by the same two companies, Irving hopes that the look and feel of the corporation’s coverage will also have a ‘joined-up’ appearance across its various broadcasts on BBC1, BBC3 and the BBC Parliament channel as well as online. And that ‘joined up’ nature may not stop at TV or web graphics.

“I think the BBC has been very clever,” concluded Irving. “The contract for the hour-by-hour live graphics has been awarded to us before the tender for opening titles or studio set design. This will make the output as joined-up as possible as we can advise and help the production team with their creative brief for that work too if they want us to. The idea is that regardless of which of the outputs you switch on it will look distinctly like it’s from the BBC.”

Deltatre has worked with the BBC since 2002, providing all graphics for its football programmes Match of the Day, Final Score and Football Focus. It also has experience in sports event graphics operations across athletics, rugby, golf, boxing and tennis.

Mammoth Graphics’ credits include the Beijing Olympics, rugby, F1 and cycling as well as the BBC’s coverage of the Australian Open tennis earlier this year.

Both Deltatre and Mammoth have – or are planning to have – offices in Salford, adjacent to BBC Sport’s new home at MediaCityUK.


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