El Clásico: bigger and better than ever

Spanish production company Mediapro was behind the broadcast of the FC Barcelona vs Real Madrid match on Saturday which was shown worldwide in HD and in 3D for a host of networks. For once, Messi could not conjure up the magic touch, and Real gained a valuable 1-2 away win. But the ‘Messi Effect’ of matches starring the world’s greatest living  footballer is starting to make sure that El Clásico is watched worldwide by even more people than ever before. 

According to Mediapro, the match saw record numbers of signal customisation requests with nine channels applying for the service. The accredited media requests have also broken records for recent Barça Madrid matches. “The technical deployment and the media interest are on a par with the big NBA games, American football matches, a Champions League final or even a World Cup,” says the company with a certain amount of justifiable hyperbole.

In order to provide the very best coverage, Mediapro prepared a huge deployment at the Camp Nou which featured more than 300 technical staff, 10 OB vans – one dedicated to the 3D feed – and 34 cameras (3 specifically for Gol Televisión which broadcast exclusive pictures to its subscribers). That further broke down into 12 pitch-side cameras (two of which will be on the goal-line in the absence of any Fifa-sanctioned GLT), one High Speed unit, a Steadicam for dead-ball situations, and a beauty camera for the overhead shots. The match team also used Epsio to draw lines to establish offside decisions.

Global audience was estimated in the region of 400m viewers. In Europe alone El Clásico was broadcast by Gol Televisión (Spain), Canal + (France), Sky Sports (Italy), Sky Sports (UK), UNAM (Germany), TV4 (Sweden), Sport TV (Portugal), NTV (Russia), etc; in Asia: Al Jazeera Sports (Middle East), CCTV5 (China), Wowow (Japan); in America: ESPN and Direct TV (Latin America), Sky (Central America,) Gol TV USA (USA); in Africa: SuperSport covered the entire continent; and in Oceania: ESPN (Australia). 

“The interest generated by the match has seen a big increase in places such as the USA, the Middle East and Asia,” says the company. Nine major networks requested Mediapro’s signal customisation services. Canal + France, Canal + Norway, Canal + Sweden, Canal 9 Denmark, Canal + Poland, BSKYB England, ESPN and Direct TV (Latin America) all sent teams to Barcelona to cover the game with both a commentary booth and a pitch-side team to interview players, as well as pre- and post-match analysis. 

The #D signal was produced for Canal + (Sweden), Sky (Italy), Direct TV (South America) and Sky (UK). The specific equipment needed for the 3D signal included9 3D rigs and more than 40 technical staff. The entire match was produced in 3D and no automatic conversion technologies were used.


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