It’s been recently announced that the Italian league Serie A assembly has officially approved Interregional Sports Group’s (ISG) virtual graphics solution for football match stadiums that are now empty due to the implications caused by COVID-19.
The announcement was made after a lengthy testing phase; the aim of the test was to determine the most suitable solution to provide virtual graphics for those watching the events live. ISG’s technology proved the most realistic, and Serie A hope that it will bring back an air of realism to professional sporting events.
A Short-Term Partnership, for Now.
For the moment, the contract which has been put in place is valid through the end of the 2019/2020 season. Depending on whether COVID-19 continues to present a problem in the coming months, this contract may well be extended if governments decide it’s not yet safe to begin allowing major public gatherings like football and tennis matches. ISG will be providing the technology along with their local partner, Necto Sports Italy, and they’ll be implementing the technology for all Championship games this season.
Simon Burgess, Join CEO and co-founder of ISG said: “Lega Serie A are a world leader and innovator in virtual media in live broadcast. We have been working with Lega for many years and are extremely proud to continue to invest in and support new virtual media solutions in these challenging times.”
Burgess went on to explain that he believes the key to the project’s success lies in getting a good balance between high-quality branding while not compromising the viewer experience.
“Our prime objectives are maximising ROI for brands and delivering optimum revenue impact for rights holders, while never compromising the enjoyment of the live event for the viewing audience,” he explained.
Serie A Have Chosen An Experienced Virtual Developer
ISG are in no way new to developing virtual technology for the spotting industry. Already, they’ve deployed a number of impressive technologies including virtual centre pitch logos of club partners, and it’s no surprise to see that they were chosen to provide the virtual crowd graphics for all Serie A matches.
According to Burgess, empty stands at all Serie A events will be animated with virtual graphics and colors of both teams playing – but these graphics will appear at selected times only.
Explaining the decision, Burgess said: “This approach provides interesting graphic enhancement but is not overexposed nor does it impact on the enjoyment of the live-action of the match it appears in. We have been working more and more directly with Serie A clubs, using our expertise to find other ways in which we can help them increase their revenues and make the best use of their stadium infrastructure to create new virtual media spaces and platforms, whilst balancing those key criteria.”
In the final part of ISG’s statement, Burgess went on to explain more about his company’s experience, stating: “Our senior team has been deploying and commercializing virtual media for almost a decade, working with all types of technologies and solutions and ISG has grown rapidly over the last six years. We are now entering a new paradigm in live sports broadcasting that presents huge opportunities to all stakeholders. However, it is a very complex process with many moving parts, liable to risks as well as rewards. ISG partners with rights holders, broadcasters, and brands to realize those collective ambitions to a world-class standard.”
It’s unlikely there will be a real long-term need for virtual crowd graphics, but with the future of the world uncertain right now thanks to COVID-19 no one knows for sure – so it will be interesting to see how things play out.
Photo courtesy: ISG.media