Paris 2023: HBS and IMG go behind the scenes for the live and post production of the Rugby World Cup 2023
The Rugby World Cup 2023 was a subject of discussion at SVG Europe’s Sports Production Summit in Amsterdam, where HBS CEO Dan Miodownik and IMG’s David Shield, senior vice president and global director for engineering and technology, provided a behind-the-scenes look at the key broadcast workflows, tools, and operations of Rugby World Cup 2023, which is currently taking place in France.
Miodownik and Shield outlined how their respective organisations are working together to produce one of the largest global sporting events of 2023. For the Rugby World Cup in France, HBS and World Rugby took the decision to create a remote IBC, disconnecting almost all of the post production into a remote IBC in the UK.
“When you’re doing a big event – and this is a big event – you have to put reliability and risk management at the absolute front”
This has resulted in HBS working from the IBC in Paris which is based at Roland-Garros, while IMG is working from its hub in Stockley Park, London, handling all the post production aspects of the World Cup.
Speaking from the Sports Production Summit stage in Amsterdam, Miodownik said: “When you’re doing a big event – and this is a big event – you have to put reliability and risk management at the absolute front, so it had to be working with a partner with a set up that made sense and Dave and the team [at IMG] put together a great response [to the RFP], by far the strongest. That why we ended up with the split where IMG are in Stockley Park fulfilling what is a major part of what we’re doing, while the French end is dealing very much with the live events operation.”
Miodownik commented on how the World Cup is going so far: “It’s going well. It’s had its challenges – that’s normal – the key thing is that we feel that the majority of it is going extremely well. There are a few areas that we want to do better and the plan will be to get those right so as we move through the tournament everything gets better in terms of the services we provide to broadcasters and the content we produce.”
Shield added: “I think it’s going really well. Great first round of matches. It’s going very well from our point of view and we’re really looking forward to working our way through to the sharp end.”
Going into more detail on what is happening at Stockley Park, Shield said: “It was a happy dovetailing of activities, so we were going to look after the satellite distribution of the world feed, so we needed to get connectivity from Roland-Garros into Stockley Park in the first place. But that enabled a remote non-live post production solution.
“2019 had been the first time Rugby World Cup has had a media server, and that was quite a big landmark actually. In 2019 it had been provided using an EVS solution. In our response to HBS’ [question on] how we would do [the post production from the UK], we said we’ll look at all the options, but actually settled back to the EVS option, which, given we’re a big EVS user anyway, meant we had quite a lot of infrastructure at our disposal that we could build into the solution. So that’s the major bit of technology that’s happening at Stockley Park; the EVS media server.”
Shield continued: “We also have 72 edit suites there, so rather than building into an IBC as you typically would, we can just cordon off an area [at Stockley Park] which would be for exclusive use for HBS.
“Historically we’ve had a great relationship on production [with HBS], so it’s largely IMG production people working on that non-live, but with quite a few leaders from HBS at Stockley Park, also being part of it.”
The conversation also went onto discuss the future of the onsite IBC and the significant popularity of smartphone-created content, which HBS is catering for by going ‘digital first’ this year for the first time with content filmed in 4:5 and 9:16 ratios.
Watch the full session here: