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How LaLiga uses video game inspired innovations for broadcast

LaLiga is looking to broadcast innovations in its quest for new fans, according to the league’s head of content and programming, Roger Brosel.

Speaking to Broadcast Sport after the recent launch of its Goal Probability graphics, Brosel revealed the importance of new graphics and other additions to keeping the broadcast product attractive to viewers: “The competition itself is a multitude of stories happening around and during matches, and those are the connections that the viewer has with LaLiga, with the clubs, and with the players are involved in in the games.

“For us, it’s been important to highlight all these stories happening during games, and tell them in the most spectacular and eye catching way possible to increase the viewing experience. And that’s why we’ve been investing and introducing a lot of these new graphics.”

The visual aspect of the graphics is vital, as well as their simplicity: “It’s not only offering the stat or the data to the viewer, but to showcase it in a way that is spectacular and easy to understand, because the game happens fast. Match directors can’t spend 30 seconds with a statistic that has to be explained by the the commentary team, it needs to be very visual.”

This is of particular importance when trying to bring younger audiences to the game: “We’re always talking about younger audiences, right, and how long 90 minutes are for short attention spans. Our goal is to try to extract all those little stories, little things that happened during the game, and offer them to the fans so that it’s not like 90 minutes of continuous action but little stories happening here and there and the tension and the drama and the build up of the game. That’s what’s interesting for us.”

LaLiga’s model, including the recent launch of LaLiga Tech and less reliance on broadcasters, is what gives it the freedom to look at these issues in the way it does. Brosel points to several recent broadcast improvements that have come from this, such as the permanent addition of aerial cameras at 15 stadiums in the league – bought by the league and installed without a broadcaster having to hire them itself.

Another is the ongoing process of filming the league’s stadiums with acrobatic drones, which has been seen to some success by the NFL in the past. These drone shots are replacing the classic helicopter over the grounds, creating a cost reduction while also adding shots from never-before-seen angles, Brosel boasts, “they’re capable of flying around the corridors, the VIP areas, the directors’ box, the dressing rooms, the press zones, so we get to see all the rooms and all the spaces inside the stadium plus, of course, the bowl itself.”

These innovations are all brought together to try and create a LaLiga brand: “We do not embrace technology just for the sake of it, but we are always looking for new ways, or for technologies that help us reach our goals. We believe that we now have a standard, or a particular brand, that when somebody watches a LaLiga game, they can almost instantly recognise it’s a LaLiga game because it has this multitude of different angles, of replays, of graphics, so it helps us create a specific brand or look for for all our games.”

Inspiration for this look has come from video games, such as the FIFA series, social media such as Twitch, and other places: “When I was a kid, video games took a lot of effort to try to imitate broadcasts, and now it’s completely the opposite.

“They have unlimited capabilities because there are no real people playing there. So they can just put the angle of vision wherever they want and do amazing things…. we keep a close eye on what they do because they are inspiration and then create some shots, for example, the typical penalty shot from behind taken from the aerial camera is 100% of video game shot. It’s it happened before in video games, then in real broadcasts. We incorporated that.”

As for social media, the league has worked with online personalities such as Ibai Llanos, and launched multi-camera feeds tha include windows for statistics and commentary teams – that aim for “younger and fresher” voices. Brosel asserted: “100%, we’re always watching what’s trending on Twitch, what’s trending on YouTube, and then incorporating that because in the end, us as spectators also evolve.”

All this has helped the success of LaLiga TV, which has been the home of the league in the UK & Ireland since 2019. The rights for the territory are currently out for tender, but Brosel is happy with how the channel has been doing to date – which likely means the league isn’t reliant on a broadcaster to show the competition at whatever the price.

“Nobody who is interested in the league has trouble finding us. First and foremost, we wanted that.

“Then it allows us to have, in one single channel, almost every game, live, and with good quality of production around those games. We wanted to have interesting people doing punditry, a good studio, and good programming. So people who like LaLiga, or who like international football, can watch it and feel it’s good, good value, right? The idea is continue with that, to produce more original programming, to continue producing more studio shows.”

As for the originaly programming, Brosel points to the likes of the Viva La Liga magazine show, and Six Dreams – a behind-the-scenes docuseries with similarities to the wildly successful Drive To Survive, which actually began airing a year before the F1 show. Overall, the aim is, “to be the window to La Liga and window that offers good quality, good entertainment, and all games live, or as many games live as possible, because obviously some some of them when the time slots are clashing.”

When broadcasters do win the rights to LaLiga, this content is provided to them, along with the LaLiga TV channel, if they want it. “We also assist them a lot in the promotion of their their own channels,” Brosel added.

Overall, through this content and technological innovation, Brosel summed up LaLiga’s aims fairly simply: “We want to go together, hand in hand, with our audiences and our future audiences and generate a product that’s interesting for everybody today.” BroadcastNow

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