No one doubts the power of live sport. That ability to bring a disparate audience together to sit down at the same time and watch an event as it unfolds. You simply have to look at the record ratings achieved in the UK during the recent European football championships as England made their way to the final to get all the evidence that you need for that.
But with major events like the summer games happening in Tokyo, there are always challenges for broadcasters throughout the world with different time zones to take into consideration. Evening in one country is nighttime somewhere else and morning in other places – not usually prime time for large viewing audiences which attract the advertising dollars.
And with events available live on multiple platforms, plus the real-time discussion of events via second screens as fans discuss the event on social media, this questions the traditional approach of time-shifting when events are shown “as live.”
All of this poses difficulties for broadcasters and schedulers alike. But with many factoring in a multi-screen approach to their coverage, it will be fascinating to see how Avid customers across the globe who hold the rights deliver their coverage to their audiences.
The growth of social will no doubt continue, but the ability of traditional broadcast to still deliver that major audience should not be underestimated. If the event is big enough and the audience is engaged, then the challenge for the rights holders is how to maximize that interest across ALL of their platforms. Behind-the-scenes interviews with the athletes and their families. Tales of how they made it from being a junior athlete to the top of the podium. Making the athlete more personal, more identifiable rather than just an athletic god with incredible skills can also help break out beyond the traditional sports audience, who may only be interested in sport every four years.
The ranks of the armchair fan can be swelled by these enthusiastic others, swept along in the atmosphere, and also providing a rich source of potential for advertisers.
There is so much to look forward to – live, online, recorded, highlights, features – on broadcast and online. For all the challenges the games have had to overcome, a sporting fiesta awaits.