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Commonwealth Games 2022: BBC Sport on Bringing All Regions of the UK Together With a Sustainable Production

28/07/2022

Commonwealth Games 2022: UK rights holder BBC Sport on bringing all regions of the UK together with a sustainable production By Heather McLean, Editor

Wednesday, July 20, 2022 - 09:30

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BBC Sport has positioned its main studio for the Commonwealth Games 2022 in the iconic Centenary Square in central Birmingham, England

BBC Sport is gearing up to show more than 200 hours of action across up to 11 live streams to provide comprehensive coverage of the Commonwealth Games 2022, which is taking place in Birmingham, UK.

Beginning on 28 July, all the drama and excitement will broadcast across BBC One, BBC Two and BBC Three, with more live action available on the BBC iPlayer, BBC Sport website and Red Button. The Games close after 11 days on Monday 8 August, bringing the first Games on UK soil since Glasgow 2014 to an end.

Busy season

This summer is an incredibly busy season for BBC Sport. Jonny Bramley, executive producer for major events at the broadcaster, and his BBC Sport team have travelled from the 150th Open at St Andrews, Scotland, directly to Birmingham, England for the Commonwealth Championships, the start of which clashes with a broadcast meeting for the Paris 2024 Olympics that must be attended. Even before the Commonwealth Games ends, Bramley must head to Munich, Germany, for the European Championships.

Says Bramley: It's crazy busy. I think the other thing as well is just simply because of the effects of pandemic and Tokyo being delayed by a year, we felt we've kind of lost a year of planning [for the Commonwealth Games], which we might have otherwise had. So everything seems to be stacked up.

Plus we've got the Paris 2024 Olympics. We've got the world broadcast meeting which is actually clashing with the start of the Commonwealths, which makes it tricky for us, but we're very much into planning for Paris as well.

Games in your own country obviously adds extra pressures because unlike when you're abroad perhaps, the BBC across the whole breadth of it feels like it's sort of got ownership of the event

BBC Sport has the UK rights for the Games, which is being produced by host broadcaster, Sunset Vine. Says Bramley: Sunset Vine will be providing all the host coverage, so they're looking after all the infrastructure venues. They've established the IBC as well, so we've basically booked all our venue facilities with them and are just liaising very, very closely with them regarding access and our own unilateral venue facilities and IBC installation. So that's been great.

We've got a relationship with Sunset Vine that goes back a long way, and a lot of the team at Sunset Vine are ex-BBC, both in terms of the organising and planning team, and then those who are actually delivering the coverage at the venues, so we know we're on safe ground and we know they'll do an excellent job.

In terms of innovation BBC R&D is trialling a 5G RF system with two radio cameras in Victoria square on a private NPM network. This is in part to test the boundary between the non-public network and the use of public networks via data SIMs and the interactions between them.

In addition BBC Sport will operate a conventional 7Ghz radio camera on traditional technology.

The Commonwealth Games baton is making its way around the UK, pictured here with former middle distance athlete Dame Kelly Holmes [holding the baton] and Karen Pickering, former freestyle swimmer [far left]

Smooth planning

On how long it has taken BBC Sport to plan this production, Bramley comments: This project has been ongoing probably for three years on and off, [and it has] certainly been affected by the delayed Tokyo games. But it's all gone very smoothly. Games in your own country obviously adds extra pressures because unlike when you're abroad perhaps, the BBC across the whole breadth of it feels like it's sort of got ownership of the event, and especially the Commonwealths, because it's very much something that's big for the individual nations; for England, Scotland, Wales, Northern Ireland, and also the other areas like the Channel Islands and the Isle of Man. They all feel like they've got a stake in it.

We are working on some interesting arrangements around studio power and some better ways to be sustainable that could enhance how we work in the future to further reduce our carbon footprint

So we're trying to not just to service our main BBC Sport output, but making sure that across the BBC, all of the other regions are being represented, and they actually can make the Games sort of feel very much part of their output as well, he says.

He comments on BBC Sport's relationship with Sunset Vine: So up to now, collaboration's been very, very good. Now we're getting into the detail of exactly who's going to be where and when, and that I think is going to be the next challenge really; to make sure that we represent the whole of the BBC in collaborating with the host broadcast to ensure that everybody gets what they want and there's enough room for all of us.

Challenges and efficiencies

On challenges in bringing this event to air in the UK, Bramley says, as always, the number one challenge is doing it cost efficiently . He goes on: So very much at the start of this process, we were looking to be as efficient as we can, utilising existing facilities the BBC have, so it's going to be very much a remote production. The galleries and post production will be in Salford, with all of the presentation and the venue facilities on site.

So we've got a studio in central Birmingham, and commentary on site at key sports. As part of Sunset Vine's commitment to the Commonwealth Games Federation, they provide English language host commentary on every event, so we are again trying to maximise t
LINK: https://www.svgeurope.org/blog/headlines/commonwealth-games-2022-uk-ri...
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