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SVG Sports Graphics Forum Draws 250+ to NYC, Goes Inside Toy Story Football Funday, Super Bowl LVIII, and More

22/02/2024

SVG Sports Graphics Forum Draws 250+ to NYC, Goes Inside Toy Story Football Funday, Super Bowl LVIII, and More By Jason Dachman, Editorial Director, U.S.

Thursday, February 22, 2024 - 1:36 pm

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The SVG Sports Graphics Forum returned to New York City on Wednesday, drawing a record crowd of more than 250 sports-graphics technology and creative leaders to The Cutting Room to share ideas, network, and discuss the latest developments in this rapidly evolving industry. The event drew attendees from CBS Sports, ESPN, Fox Sports, NBC Sports, and TNT Sports; MLB, NBA, NFL, NHL, and PGA Tour; a variety of pro and college teams, regional sports networks, and top creative agencies; and Amazon Prime Video, EA, Epic Games, Meta, and dozens of other leading technology companies.

Throughout the entire year this is the only day where all of you gather in one place, Tim O'Shaughnessy, ESPN, Creative Director and SVG Graphics Committee Chair said during his welcoming remarks. Think about the collective accountability we all have to change and improve how people experience sports. Note that I didn't say how people watch sports', I intentionally used the word Experience'. Because that word represents the shift in how we approach the work as we move forward. Today's panels revolve around changing the traditional experience for the fan.

This year's program, which was spearhead by O'Shaughnessy and the committee, was headlined by in-depth presentations on the latest visionary projects including ESPN's Toy Story Football Funday broadcast and CBS Sports' Vegas-fueled graphics package and overall design for Super Bowl LVIII. In addition, the agenda featured sessions addressing the latest developments in graphics technology, style and design philosophy, AR graphics and virtual production, AI and VR, and the impact of real-time gaming engines like Unreal Engine.

ESPN Creative Director Tim O'Shaughnessy chaired this year's SVG Sports Graphics Forum

We can't forget that at our core we are all storytellers, added. And this audience is made up of leaders who approach the work from different angles. Some of us are creative thinkers who dream up new ways to showcase the game. Some of us are technology pioneers who are giving us new possibilities for storytelling. Some of us are people leaders who are guiding careers and building teams that will take us forward. Regardless of who you are and what you do, you are interconnected with everyone else in this room. None of us can exist, succeed or invoke change without the other.

When it comes to animation, there's no bigger name than The Walt Disney Co. When it comes to broadcast innovation, ESPN is always on the cutting edge. In a stroke of corporate synergy, this marriage resulted in the first-ever alternative broadcast based on Pixar classic Toy Story during an NFL game. Michael Spike Szykowny and his ESPN Creative Studio team took the stage to illustrate how they pulled off the unforgettable Toy Story Football Funday.

Following the Opening Keynote, top technologists from Disguise, Ross Video, Silver Spoon Animation (part of AE Live Group), and Vizrt provided an overview of how the latest tech tools are allowing sports broadcasters to create more dynamic and immersive experiences for fans. The What's Next in Graphics Technology panel addressed what's on the horizon for AR and virtual production, the evolution of data visualization and tracking systems, and the impact of immersive VR and XR experiences.

After spotlighting the tech side, the Forum then offered a look at What's Next in Sports Graphics Design. In what has become an annual tradition at the Forum, creative leaders from major sports broadcasters take the stage to offer up their perspectives on what's next in the realm of sports graphics. Top graphics designers from ESPN, NBC Sports, and Estado do Sonho presented their latest projects and offer up a crystal-ball look into the future of sports-graphics design.

Next up was a case study from ESPN on the various solutions and requirements that went into the launch of a new AR graphics package for Monday Night Football and Monday Night Countdown this season.

College football presents one of the most unique challenges in all of sports-graphics in that broadcasters must create a package that serves the needs of both marquee primetime games and the sheer volume of games on the schedule. With new graphics packages from NBC Sports, Fox Sports, ESPN, and others launched over the past 12 months, the Forum dedicated an afternoon session to spotlighting the unique challenges of the college gridiron. 2:45 - 3:00 p.m.: ESPN

The 2024 Forum also served as an opportunity for breaking news this year, as ESPN announced Meta as the fourth member of the ESPN Edge Innovation Center. The collaboration is focused on bringing an ESPN-branded virtual reality (VR) sports experience to Meta Quest. Immersive VR sports highlights will be available in the free Xtadium app on Meta Quest, and coming later this summer, ESPN will launch an immersive, ESPN-branded experience in Meta Horizon Worlds.

While Unreal Engine was a running theme throughout the day, the next session took an even deeper dive into the groundbreaking influence of it has had on creative philosophy and how it has opened up a whole host of new possibilities for sports-graphics designers. Design gurus from Already Been Chewed, CBS Sports, and K exFrame discussed the profound ways in which Unreal Engine is redefining the boundaries of imagination and shaping the very core of creative thought for sports graphics professionals.

The afternoon also featured an insightful AI Factor Q&A session featuring leaders from Two Fresh Creative that delved into the delicate balance between harnessing the
LINK: https://www.sportsvideo.org/2024/02/22/svg-sports-graphics-forum-draws...
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