Using the latest technological and innovative advances, the DFL continues to evolve and improve the Bundesliga experience for an ever-expanding international audience of licensees and broadcasting partners. The 2018-19 season has seen a number of new International Product Portfolio (IPP) features been rolled out, including enhanced player and team statistics and graphics, and the new Commentary Live Tool. Their introduction was covered in a previous edition of “Focus: Tomorrow”. These are not the only new developments with media partners also benefiting from access to tailored localised highlight clips, being able to broadcast matches in ultra-high definition (UHD), and the ability to bring the action further to life using augmented reality.
Localised clips are now available thanks to a revolutionary new process that allows international partners to put together a personal highlights reel of one of the Bundesliga’s many overseas superstars. So, for example, a digital partner based in the United States may wish to automatically capture all goals, assists and other tricks and skills of Borussia Dortmund’s talented young American forward, Christian Pulisic. This is now possible! Thanks to the creative minds at Israeli start-up WSC Sports Technologies, the Bundesliga has become the first European league to benefit from this highlight-tool which it will also offer to international licensees very soon.
The groundbreaking project uses intelligent algorithms that, amongst other factors, listen to an audio feed from a match, and using predefined parameters established at the start of each season, automatically capture key highlights involving any particular player whenever he is referenced. An editor then examines each highlights package at the start of the week before media partners can access the clips – created in-house by DFL subsidiary DFL Digital Sports – via the Bundesliga’s B2B-Portal. In the near future, potentially interested licensees will have the chance to gain direct access to the system and establish their own localised clip guidelines.
Broadcasting in UHD is another innovative development that is becoming increasingly prevalent in its usage in the Bundesliga and by its international broadcast partners, allowing some matches to be shown using the highest quality in production standards. The Saturday evening kick-off is traditionally the match chosen to be broadcast in UHD, utilising English commentary and UHD graphics. The UHD production is produced with 21 broadcast cameras. Six of these are native UHD cameras; all other cameras are originally produced in HD 1080p50 standard and are subsequently improved to meet UHD standards. International broadcasters can choose whether they wish to show a particular match in UHD, with Eleven Sports in Poland, China’s PP Sports and Viasat channels in Scandinavia all regularly broadcasting Bundesliga games in this format.
The third part of this technological triumvirate is augmented reality, in which fans watching on television can feel as if they are almost inside the stadium. This is largely thanks to developments such as the fly-cam, where an aerial camera zooms along a wire to present spectacular in-field close-ups. The Bundesliga is one of only a handful of leagues fortunate enough to be able to call upon this innovative technology. The experience is enhanced via the use of detailed photorealistic graphics that bring to life logos, trophies, match statistics, player head-to-heads and many other features.
Augmented reality will next be in play at the Borussia Dortmund versus Borussia Mönchengladbach match on 21 December followed by TSG 1899 Hoffenheim versus FC Bayern München after the winter break on 18 January 2019.