The Cricket World Cup in numbers

India: With the subcontinent set to grind to a halt as a forecast audience of around one billion people watch today’s Cricket World Cup semi-final match between India and Pakistan in Mohali, Broadcast Solutions has been highlighting some of the astonishing behind the scenes numbers involved in producing coverage from the six-week tournament.

Beyond this single, Brobdingnagian match – which, of course, has got even wider geopolitical implications in the region (the Prime Ministers of the two countries are attending the game together, the first time they’ve met face to face since the Mumbai terrorist attacks) – the tournament’s staging across host nations Bangladesh, India and Sri Lanka, means that this is truly one of the biggest sporting events in the world.

Broadcast Solutions has the contract for fulfilling the ESPN STAR Sports ICC cricket production, and started detailed planning for the tournament at least a year in advance of its staging. That meant organising the schedules for a mammoth crew of 600 people across 15 venues and three countries, all of which entailed 3500 flights and 14,000 room nights (and would have been even more if it hadn’t been decided that Pakistan had to lose co-host status following the terrorist attack on the Sri Lankan team in Lahore in 2009).

As far as kit is concerned, the tournament is being shot in HD with a stereo mix. Six sets of flypacks, each containing 29 cameras, four of which are super slo mos, have been shuttled round the countries on a succession of 50 chartered flights, and have been joined together with something in the region of 72km of camera cable.

“Obviously bringing equipment into India in the best of times is a huge challenge, and with the World Cup Cricket this was put under the microscope even more,” says Brroadcast Solutions’ Saeed Izadi. “The equipment was stuck at customs due to various red tape procedures, and was eventually only released with three days to go to the start of the tournament.”

Four feeds leave each venue; a world feed, two interactive ones, and one dedicated for ESPN STAR Sports. And, apart from the customs issues, Izadi says that all has gone smoothly. “The only challenge was the new TV control room in the Eden Gardens ground in Kolkata, which now sits inside the indoor nets outside of the ground. There we had to pre-rig all our cables before the broadcast equipment moved into the ground, whereas everywhere else the rig took three days in advance of the facilities checks before the transmission day.”

The winner goes on to play Sri Lanka in Saturday’s first all-Asian final in Mumbai.

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