Keep on Moov’ing Part 1: How Moov won the race to provide the graphics for the London Marathon 2024

The London Marathon as show on the BBC, with Moov’s graphics illustrating the Elite Women Mat splits, showing positions and times at a particular point of the race

Laurie Beamont, head of graphics delivery at Moov, discusses the company’s involvement in the 2024 London Marathon, and its efforts to enhance the race graphics and storytelling for organisers, London Marathon Events.

Moov was brought on board for this epic annual spectacle by London Marathon Events to offer more comprehensive coverage and improve the look and interactivity of both the domestic and international feeds, for the BBC and broadcasters worldwide. Read on for more.

Start from the beginning. How did you get involved with the London Marathon?

I’ve been at Moov for about 10 years now and ever since I’ve been here, we’ve done the Great North Run, which is on the BBC via FilmNova. We’ve got a really good working relationship with FilmNova doing a lot of Great Runs over the years, and a lot of other events like Great Manchester Run and all of those sorts of things, so we’ve got some road race pedigree.

In the past, we’ve also done marathons such as the Dubai Marathon and the Wuxi Marathon in China, right down to similar sports like triathlons. So we’ve got a contract with World Triathlon and again, we work alongside FilmNova on that to produce their world feed race graphics, which obviously involves a heavy running element.

The London Marathon Events team approached us early in the year on the back of all that good work that we’ve been doing with FilmNova. [The London Marathon] is a BBC production, but we have quite close ties with the BBC as an organisation; we work with them a lot on things like Wimbledon, the Olympics in Tokyo, and we’re going to be working with them again on the Paris Olympics edition this year, so they were happy for us to come on board with the view of trying to enhance the offering, not just on the domestic feed but internationally as well.

Who have you taken over from, and why?

The incumbent was Mammoth, another graphics supplier, and there was a third company involved called netventure, who are another German company that were providing a lot of the templated stuff. There was an agreement between those and a collaboration between Mammoth and netventure to provide the services, which we have now taken just as us.

Read more Keep on Moov’ing Part 2: Moov on overcoming the challenges and planning ahead for the London Marathon 2025 and beyond

London Marathon Events wanted to be offering more. Seeing the work that we’d done elsewhere and having conversations with us, we quickly identified what we could offer more of, and I think that’s what they wanted to be driven on.

They felt potentially that the coverage had stagnated slightly from a race graphics point of view and they weren’t necessarily getting as much as some of the other marathons were getting around the world and content-wise. So our aim was to increase the coverage to get on par with the other big events like Boston and Berlin and those sorts of events.

How long is your agreement for?

We came to a three year deal. The next 12 months after the previous event we will spend time developing what we can do and enhancing everything for the following event in 2025. After our wash-up meetings we will formulate a plan based on that.

Moov’s graphics showing the Men’s Wheelchair start list crawl with race clock, on the BBC at the London Marathon 2024

What was the aim for this year?

For London Marathon Events, their whole desire is to make their international feed a bit more comprehensive; just being able to tell more stories with what’s happening within the races, which they feel is lacking at the moment. A lot of our work, for example on the World Triathlon project, has been trying to do the same thing; that is, how do we explain the stories of what’s happening in quite a complex race with multiple disciplines and illustrate to the audience what’s going on in a coherent way? London Marathon was looking for the same.

We came in quite late for this year, and the agreement for year one was that we would keep the status quo, but then look at how we can then make that better. We’re aiming to offer more than what we had in the past in terms of content and data-driven graphics. We partner quite strongly with mika:timing, who are the German timing company, and they provide us all the mat splits for all of the athletes, and we’re able to draw comparisons and query those.

The whole aim was to get more of that content on screen, both on the domestic feed, which is done in isolation to the international feed, but also making sure the international feed is good.

The whole idea is that moving forward, London Marathon Events would maybe develop and produce their own international feed, which then has greater offerings for sponsorship and all of those sorts of things.

Moov’s graphics illustrating the gaps between the Women’s Wheelchair race leader and second place

What was the process to preparing for the 2024 London Marathon?

Part of the process would be we look at what everybody else is doing. So we analyse Berlin, the Seville Marathon, see what’s happening in Boston, because each of the different broadcasters in the different territories tend to have a very different approach.

As we all know, with American broadcasts, they can be quite graphics-heavy, and we don’t necessarily want all of that content, but there’s definitely some really nice ideas within there. Then we develop our own ideas, especially from our experiences on other projects that we’ve done.

Obviously we have to develop our software offering around all of that to be able to offer the key content we need. That may be things as complex as athlete comparisons and gaps between athletes, those sorts of things that just illustrate the story of what’s going on a little bit more. But it could also be really simple things, whereas before, whenever we’d go to see Cutty Sark, you’d just see Cutty Sark, but the audience at home may not know where that is on the course and in relation to everything else; is it the start or is it the end? So just little things of saying, “Cutty Sark’s at 6.5 miles”. We ended up using those more than probably any other graphic during the event this year. So it’s just little signposting things.

What have you actually produced for this marathon?

Initially, in this stage, we were all about the quick wins of how can we get more engagement? So we created things like the QR codes that we were putting out on screen that were sending people to WhatsApp and generated more engagement. So it’s not just the race stuff, it’s the audience participation bit as well.

There’s a lot of partnerships involved. So we get the content on screen, but then there’s also the social department at the BBC that get involved. There’s the platform provider Cisco, that creates the software that allows that all to happen. And it all ties into allowing us to put people’s shout-outs on the screen and for the commentators to reference them as well, which is quite key.

Initially, with the timeframes [we were initially working to], we were looking at quick wins, and then we can go into the bigger development cycles for the next edition where we can really make some nice comprehensive data comparison graphics, for instance.

Subscribe and Get SVG Europe Newsletters