SVG Europe’s Sport Production Summit highlights the industry’s successes and promises

SVG Europe’s flagship conference and networking event, Sport Production Summit, brought together the European sport-production community to showcase its recent successes and debate the future of the sector. The event also included the Outstanding Contribution to European Sports Broadcasting Award, honouring legendary IMG Media and BBC Sport production executive Graham Fry

Panasonic, Paris 2024, and IBC Accelerator Programme Kick Off the Event

The day began with welcoming remarks by Panasonic’s Andre Meterian, who offered a preview of how the company will support the Paris 2024 Olympic Games with broadcast cameras, a live-video–processing IT platform, professional projectors, large professional display systems, and other technology.

SVG Europe Editorial Director George Bevir (left) and IBC Council and IBC Accelerator Program Chair Mark Smith

Mark Smith, chair, IBC Council and IBC Accelerator Programme, then took the stage for a fireside chat with SVG Europe Editorial Director George Bevir. Smith previewed what attendees can expect at IBC 2023, which features three themes: Transformative Tech, People and Purpose, and Shifting Business Models. In addition, the show will have 500 square meters of space dedicated to demonstrating live–esports-production workflows and will offer an entire day of conference programming on esports. IBC has also partnered with the EBU on a new activation dubbed the EBU Zone.

The IBC Accelerator Programme will feature eight projects with more than 80 companies in Hall 3 participating. On the sports side, the Connect and Product Anywhere project will be focused on delivering software-defined production workflows for connectivity-challenged locations.

Europe United: Solving sports broadcasting’s big challenges

Next up, the “Europe United: Solving sports broadcasting’s big challenges” panel offered top executives from EMG, FACTORY63, ISB (International Sports Broadcasting), and Southfields discussing the big challenges affecting the way sports content is captured, managed, and distributed.

From left: Bevir, Zuijderwilk, Romero, Curtin, De Marchis

A particular focus was on the commercial issues shaping the sports sector, issues affecting monetisation and viewer engagement, and technologies — such as AI and the cloud — that are enabling rights owners, broadcasters, and facilities firms to do more for less. The conversation ended with some suggested solutions for how, by uniting, the industry can go about tackling those challenges.

Much of the conversation centered on doing more with less in today’s challenging financial landscape. With that in mind, ISB Managing Director Ursula Romero highlighted the importance of “talking to our partners and understanding exactly what they want. If they want [something specific], then make sure they are aware that it’s going to cost exactly this much.”

Doing more with less: Leveraging tech to drive efficiency in sports production

The theme of doing more with less continued with the next session, with Caretta Research’s Rebecca Jackson presenting on “Leveraging tech to drive efficiency in sports production.” The global media and entertainment industry is feeling the pinch, and producers are seeking ways to make their supply chains more efficient while still delivering exceptional quality of service. She offered three key takeaways:

  • The sports-tech market is healthy, but competition is high, and vendors are focused on creating sport-specific products. So make sure to establish that your solution is a good and unique market fit.
  • Market growth has stabilised, but there is also a huge longtail opportunity and hundreds of buys making it crucial that vendors look further than the biggest originations when selling their solutions.
  • With high competition in customized-solution offering, ensure that your customised solution stands out because very few organisations have big spending power.

Thought leader perspectives panel: Innovation in live production

Just before breaking for lunch, the first “Thought leader perspectives” panel offered a sneak peek at what some key vendors will be showcasing at IBC 2023. Arkona Technologies, Evertz, Seagate, and VIDI explained how their products can reduce the cost of live productions in today’s challenging market, the rise of cloud-based workflows and infrastructure, the growing importance of sustainability, remote production and virtualization, fan engagement and personalization, and more.

Production case study: Rugby World Cup 2023

After lunch in the exhibits area, HBS CEO Dan Miodownik and IMG SVP, Global Director, Engineering and Technology, David Shield 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.

From left: David Shield, Dan Miodownik, Heather McLean

Miodownik and Shield detailed how their respective organizations are working together to produce one of the largest global sporting events of 2023. Among the key topics was HBS’s decision to split this year’s host-broadcast operation in two: the live-production operations are being done at Roland Garros in France, and a remote IBC at IMG Studios in Stockley Park in the UK houses all non-live and postproduction operations.

Thought leader perspectives panel: Monetising sports content

The second “Thought leader perspectives” panel covered making and monetising sports content and featured speakers from Backlight, Spiideo, TinkerList, and Vislink. The panelists discussed how cloud-based workflows can streamline productions and enhance monetization opportunities, how AI and automated production solutions can serve both elite and lower-tier sports properties, the challenges associated with distributing and monetising sports content on social and digital platforms, the rise of FAST channels and other ways to monetise content after the live event, and what the panelists’ companies are showing at IBC 2023.

Buying power: Production and technology trends panel

From left: Reitano, Görner-Meeus, Bucknall, and Will Strauss

From AI to HDR, via immersive audio and the ongoing shift to the cloud, numerous technologies are helping broadcasters, production teams, and their partners create content of a higher quality and adopt more-sustainable and -efficient ways of producing content. During the afternoon, a panel of experts from Proximus Media House, Sky Germany, and Sunset+Vine highlighted the areas capturing their attention, shed some light on how this will affect their purchasing decisions.

In addition, each offered insight into what they hope and expect to find at IBC 2023: Alessandro Reitano, SVP of Sports Production, Sky Germany identified the rise of AI and the growing need to produce multiple versions of the same game as key trends; Larissa Görner-Meeus, CTO, Proximus Media House, seconded that AI would play a key role in her IBC showfloor journey along with new orchestration tools; and Tom Bucknall, Technical Producer, Sunset+Vine, identified the cloud as his primary focus for IBC 2023.

Outstanding Contribution to European Sports Broadcasting: Graham Fry

The day concluded with a session honoring Graham Fry for Outstanding Contribution to European Sports Broadcasting.

Bevir (left) and Graham Fry

Fry joined IMG in 1991 and was managing director, production worldwide, from 2007 to ’21, overseeing the significant growth that made IMG one of the world’s largest producers of sports programming. Prior to joining IMG, he worked at the BBC, starting as an assistant producer on such major events as the Olympics and Commonwealth Games and the FIFA World Cup and producing a number of the corporation’s flagship programmes, including Ski Sunday, Wimbledon, and Euro 88. In 1989, he joined Champion TV, the independent sports provider for the new British Satellite Broadcasting (BSB) Sports Channel (which later merged with Sky to form BSkyB), serving as executive producer of football and tennis.

“I loved going to work every day,” said Fry during a Q&A with Bevir. “It was a great privilege to work with [my industry colleagues]. I loved every minute of it.”

Presentations and case studies: WNBA, MSG Networks, World Aquatics, and more

The programme also featured a quartet of sponsored presentations and case studies: LTN’s “Changing the Game: Live event versioning that grows your revenue”; TVU Networks’ “Dive into the future of remote production: Reshaping Women’s NBA and France Télévisions’ 2024 Games coverage”; and Chyron’s “How Madison Square Garden Network integrates data from stats providers with Chyron PRIME graphics”; and Imagen’s “How World Aquatics transformed its content, distribution, and entitlements for broadcasters and athletes.”

The 2023 Sport Production Summit was made possible by Title Sponsor Panasonic; Registration Sponsor LiveU; Networking Reception Sponsor Tata Communications; Case Study Sponsors Chyron, Imagen, and LT; Session Sponsor Qvest; Video Advert Sponsors EVS, Phabrix, Videon; Technology Partners Calrec, Canon, Chyron, Cobalt, Evertz, InSync, Matrox, MRMC Robotics, Panasonic, Seagate, Spiideo, Telstra Broadcast Services, TVU Networks, VersoLive, and Xytech; and Associate Sponsors Arkona, ARRI Backlight, Canon, Christy Media, Diversified, JWP, Program Productions, Ross Video, Seagate, Sennheiser, Spiideo, Sponix, Tata Communications, Telos Alliance, TinkList, Videon, VIDI, and Vislink.

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