Warner Bros. Discovery Sport’s Scott Young talks collaboration and scale for the Weekend of Champions

For the 2023 FIM Speedway GP season Warner Bros. Discovery (WBD) is rolling out additional trackside and vehicles-mounted cameras to capture more of the action, as well as extra on-screen stats so viewers can get more insight into what is happening

Scott Young, senior vice president, content and production at Warner Bros. Discovery, discusses the packed Weekend of Champions about to hit the broadcaster’s platforms across Europe this weekend, from how the team at Warner Bros. Discovery is working together to pull off this sports marathon, to the sheer scale of the operation.

Why should sports fans watching on your platforms get excited by this weekend of the 10 to 11 June?
I think we have one of the most diverse, compelling, entertaining range of sports available on the Weekend of Champions. And no matter what type of sport, whether it’s a team sport, or it’s the individual achievements, or whether you follow a sport team or athlete, somewhere across the Weekend of Champions we’re going to engage with your passion for sport.

Not only that, we’re going to interconnect all of our sports together. So, if you’ve never experienced a particular sport before, this is also a great weekend to dive into new sports like Speedway Grand Prix, or the Mountain Bike World Series that may not yet be on your radar. But across the Weekend of Champions, we’re going to surface samples all these different sports so that sports fans can be super-served under one brand.

Warner Bros. Discovery Sport’s Scott Young in The Cube with presenter Orla Chennaoui

Can you give some insights into the scale of this operation?
The scale is going to be unlike anything anyone has realised previously, particularly in this business. To mobilise a team across Europe, from the UK through to Istanbul. And in a scale of sports, and a football pitch between two teams, whether you’ve got five yachts at sea in the Ocean Race, you’ve got mountain bikes, and Speedway Grand Prix at purpose-built venues.

Find out more about what’s happening at the Weekend of Champions here

You’ve got Le Mans 24 Hour at such an iconic racetrack, we’ll be going all day and all night, right through to the women’s rugby final taking place in Gloucester in the UK. Not only that, the women’s and men’s singles finals, along with the doubles finals, taking place at the iconic Roland-Garros.

We have teams on the ground at every one of those events to connect the stories with the athletes and we have teams at every one of our major production centres, connecting those teams to our audience. There are thousands of people working across our network to deliver this sport from the venue for our production centres, and into the televisions or devices of our audience.

What level of collaboration has there been internally across the business to make the most of this weekend?
I would say the collaboration is one of the great outcomes of the Weekend of Champions. And we’ve seen this at its highest level when we do the Olympic Games, whether summer or winter, where our markets across Europe collaborate to ensure we’re working as one team to super-serve our audience.

I think the collaboration across the different teams and the different fields of sport across every individual’s field of expertise, whether you’re cast or crew, whether your presenter or pundit, or commentator or producer or assistant – every one of these teams are working together.

We began the concept of the Weekend of Champions in January, recognising that this weekend was upon us and we’ve been working tirelessly as a connected team across all of our European markets under the banner of the Weekend of Champions to make sure that we fully expose all the sports, cross-promote across all of the channels and connect with every athlete possible.

Will we see much cross promotion over the course of the weekend?
Our plan is to make sure that every sport interconnects with every other sports broadcast and that is not just through fairly simple picture-in-picture awareness promos – and that means that commentators are reminding you that sports are on different channels taking place either at the same time or later on that day – but right through to our talents connecting with each other live from different venues to remind people that as one sport comes to a close another sports starts.

You’ll see a great collaboration between our own on-air team who are all part of the Weekend of Champions, and are all absolutely vested in making sure this weekend connects together.

What are the challenges that lie ahead to ensure this weekend goes smoothly?
All sport is one of the most unpredictable forms of entertainment you can possibly engage with; who knows what will unfold through all these various sports that we have in-play at the same time? So the variability is the unknown.

We have spent all of our time and expertise preparing for the start of all of these sports. The unknown is what unfolds as each sport continues. And that is part of the fun. We have an amazing team, including people like Tim Henman, Mats Wilander, John McEnroe, Chris Evert at Roland-Garros, and right now they’re managing the story of tennis as it unfolds.

We have an incredible team of people led by Tom Kristiansen, who is Mr Le Mans; who knows what is going to happen as 24 hours of car racing unfolds for the Le Mans 24 hours?

And can Manchester City beat Inter Milan and bring it home in the Champions League? Again, football is an amazing story that unfolds over every minute of play. So we are at the behest of the competitors and the athletes from the moment they start competition.

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