Sportv Series Latin America debates on changes caused by the pandemic in sports broadcasting

Another of the virtual panels that took place this last Tuesday, October 6th during the second Sportv Series Latin America edition was entitled ‘The changing face of sports broadcasting in the pandemic era’, and included the participation of Gabriel Baños, CEO & Founder at Flowics; Francesca Mora, Distribution and Marketing Manager at Turner; Andres Nieto Serpa, Director Latin America at Claro Sports; Walter Larrosa, Director of Live Sports at TUDN; and Nicolas Borrero, Marketing Director at Asociacion Deportivo Cali.

‘Clubs, leagues and broadcasters have to work together. If independent decisions are made, the final product for the consumer may suffer. We noticed many differences between the type of sport and the type of venue where it takes place. In smaller venues, it was decided to bring fans with large screens in the stadium, but in a football stadium, those images would not be seen’, reported Baños in relation to the changes in sports broadcasts during the pandemic. ‘In Chile, we were able to implement agreements with 14 of the 18 Professional Football clubs to add virtual audiences. We have managed to make the broadcast look much better, and we have been able to alleviate all the losses that the sponsors have had due to the cancellation of football leagues’, added Mora.

In the case of Asociacion Civil Deportivo Cali, Borrero reported that ‘the first thing we did was to work on a platform that would allow fans to be present virtually. In addition, the screens allow more visibility for brands’. Nieto Serpa reported that ‘the most important thing is that people can return to stadiums. All we have done are experiences, but human contact cannot be lost’.

‘At first, we asked ourselves if we wanted matches with false ambient audio, and then we thought about buying sound effects, although later we saw that we have the Televisa library, which has the rights of several clubs in the Mexican league. We got into Protools and classified the fans according to each club. We put together a very specific library for each of the matches. We must reinvent ourselves. The Covid situation reinvented us and took us out from our comfort zone. A key thing is that the false audio does not cover what happens in stadiums’, reported Larrosa. Regarding the impact of Covid on the negotiation of sports rights, Nieto Serpa said that ‘today, rights have other values, ​​and advertisers are the ones who are harmed the most’. In this regard, Mora reported that ‘in Chile, most of the clubs live due to the money provided by the broadcaster. There are brands that have been disappearing. Everything is going to begin to be invented and reconverted, including the renegotiation of rights’, she said.

‘At first, we saw the impact of the pandemic on sports broadcasts in the ways to produce. All have had to adapt to new ways of producing to fulfill with sanitary protocols and avoid moving production teams to stadiums. In that sense, from Flowics we have been working on remote production. We have been working with production companies and broadcasters. In graphics and interactivity, we work on our graphics products in the cloud, which allows us to incorporate graphics with cloud-based technologies into a broadcast. To a certain extent, looking forward, this is a change that is here to stay’, reported Baños.

Regarding the role of social networks on this matter, Larrosa argued that ‘all social networks are relevant today. There are certain more relevant networks, but in our case all of them are’. According to Mora, at Turner ‘we rely on YouTube and Facebook to broadcast some previews, because not everyone has access to our premium channel. With Instagram we managed to do something more artistic. We have grown a lot in social networks, as a consequence of the pandemic. Audiences are more connected to this content. We must try to get value from the time fans spend on a screen’. Likewise, Nieto Serpa said that ‘today, there is a lot of information, and we must know how to communicate it’. The executive also stressed the need for those who negotiate rights to fight against content piracy.

‘For the event itself, the most relevant network should be Twitter. Leaving the event itself, there are dynamics that work on Facebook Live and YouTube Live to attract audiences to the main streaming; and give advertisers other possibilities. No network should be left out. There are sports with different audiences and, depending on that, each social network will have a greater or lesser preponderance’, said Baños.