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T20 Cricket World Cup: Inside Look at Disney Star's Host Broadcast, Unilateral Productions


T20 Cricket World Cup: Inside Look at Disney Star's Host Broadcast, Unilateral Productions T20 Cricket tournament shifts to Caribbean for final matches; final is set for June 29 in Barbados By Ken Kerschbaumer, Editorial Director

Friday, June 21, 2024 - 8:00 am

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As the ICC Men's T20 World Cup tournament heads into the Playoffs Stage, Disney Star, official Production Services partner of the International Cricket Council (ICC) for both the men's and the women's editions in 2024, is focused on delivering a world-class viewing experience for almost 2 billion fans around the globe.

Continuing its collaboration with the ICC, Disney Star looks to serve current fans and recruit new ones across different geographies, demographics, and devices. We're elevating the context of the tournament, says Disney Star Head of Sports Sanjog Gupta, taking fans deeper into the contests, enhancing narratives of the competition, and building seminal cultural moments around the ICC T20 World Cups. We hope fans enjoy this historic global broadcast produced by Disney Star.

A Spider cam plays a big role in capturing intimate shots at the ICC T20 Men's Cricket World Cup.

From the tournament start in Guyana on June 2, 55 matches will whittle 20 teams down to a champion, to be crowned in Barbados on June 29. In between, the tournament travels to venues in the U.S. (New York, Dallas, and Miami) and the Caribbean (Antigua, Trinidad and Tobago, St. Vincent, and St. Lucia).

Because this is the first marquee cricket tournament to be played on U.S. soil, Disney Star aims to elevate the viewing experience by bringing viewers closer to the game and its heroes, capturing the myriad colors of fandom. Getting that done requires more than 450 production personnel deployed across nine venues and a robust roster of 40 commentators from 12 countries building narratives, elevating moments, telling compelling stories, and providing nuanced insights. The effort is supported by production crews from 17 nations.

For this marquee event in the Americas, Disney Star has developed a world-class broadcast framework with the primary objective of deepening relationships with hard-core fans while spurring interest among diverse cohorts of new and casual fans.

The World-Feed Backbone Disney Star is producing the world feeds onsite and is also producing unilateral coverage for viewers in India out of its Mumbai broadcast center. As host broadcaster, Disney Star has been tasked with handling production logistics. All matches are distributed around the world via fiber, an Asian satellite, and London's BT Tower, with all the venues connected for remote production for the first time.

Fans from Pakistan came out in force during Group Stage matches at Eisenhower Park on New York's Long Island.

NEP is providing production facilities, with teams working in trucks at the U.S. venues and with flypacks in the West Indies. Each match requires around 140 people to produce, and all matches and venues feature 40+ cameras.

Around 12 cameras are deployed for core game coverage, with ultra-motion cameras, slow-motion units, Hawk-Eye, Spider cam, and buggy, drone, and run-out cameras bringing the total to about 40. Augmented-reality sequences have been put together by Silver Spoon for Opening and Closing Ceremonies.

New this year is a dedicated vertical made for mobile devices feed, which builds on the success of the vertical feed for the ICC Men's Cricket World Cup 2023. It's an AI-supported vertical feed, a first for cricket.

In addition to the vertical feed, the broadcast also entails a feed aimed at making the viewing experience for cricket more inclusive. A parallel service catering to viewers with partial/complete hearing or sight impairment is also being made available.

The host broadcaster captures off-field moments as well as team and player preparations, deploying technology innovations to offer fans in-depth analysis and visually compelling storytelling.

Unilateral Coverage Given the massive popularity of cricket in India, it's no surprise that Disney Star is going big for unilateral coverage of the event, specifically catering to fans of Indian origin in multiple languages with customized video, commentary, and graphics. It provides 15 fully customized feeds to serve almost 400 million viewers in India; the feeds are also available on demand in places like the U.S. and UK. Separate shows for linear and digital viewers in their language bring the total count of customized feeds to 15.

Working remotely, the production staff - in split shifts across the day to handle matches in different time zones and different dayparts - take in the 15 camera feeds, transported via fiber. Disney Star also has talent at all the venues and is doing studio shows from the grounds as well as commentary and studio shows from Mumbai. The team in Mumbai folds the onsite commentary in with that from the Mumbai-based commentators to form unilateral feeds for 44 out of the 55 matches.

Disney Star studios in India are using XR for live sports coverage for the first time, partnering with some advertisers to build campaigns using AR and VR instead of just displaying bugs or ads on-screen.
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