Tuesday, July 6, 2010

Broadcasting Worlds

Yesterday was my first shot at broadcasting for worlds. I've done Paganello a few times as well as College Easterns way back in 1997 or 1998 and I did the DVD for Sandblast 2004.

By far this is the best setup, on par or eclipsing what CBS College Sports did for USA-U college championships. The Czech company really seems to have good pacing on their shot selection, excellent replays, they are following the disc extraordinarily well and the graphics are good. All told, it makes it a lot better when the full package is put together.

Seeing the game like this (i watched monday's broadcast live) definitely ramps up the level of excitement and showcases ultimate as an actual spectator sport.

Broadcasting games live with multiple camera angles isn't a new thought, Charles Kerr and I talked extensively about putting together live webcasting for games almost 10 years ago, but without support from the then-UPA we had no chance. CBS College Sports involvement is great, I wonder when the time will come to do it for Club Nationals. UltiVillage is also a good tool, but limited.

Since I work in the TV/Film/Video business in New York i can tell you that putting together the kind of operation you see here (click to the right side to watch the games, even now they are up so it won't be live, but more like a DVR'd replay) in the United States would not be cheap. Those cameramen with good enough skills to follow the action and the director calling shots in their headsets want 500/day. The camera rental (looks like we had 3 primary cameras for Worlds, possibly 4, plus a small miniDV cam in the broadcast booth) would tally 1000/day easily, likely more. Add in a director and the switching equipment, etc etc and I'm guesstimating 5-7K a day, at cost, a company might charge 10K for the whole operation. Fortunately finals are all on one day.

Still -- it can be done for cheaper with cheaper cameras and cheaper cameramen, but quality would suffer. Even so, for ~10K to the USA-U/players to broadcast Club Worlds, is it worth it?

The answer is rather simple: sponsorship. Even if a sponsor only throws 2K at USA-U for getting their logo on camera, in the shots, on the screen (like we saw here) during the webcast that's a great start to the USA-U's decades-long quest for someone to be interested in the sport.

Invest now is my suggestion: down the line in 4-5 years Club Championship broadcasting should pay for itself -- and then some.

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