The work of a football commentator is like an iceberg: the majority of it tends to go unseen. The trick to doing the job well is to make it sound as if statistics and other nuggets of information have been uttered completely off the cuff. In most cases, however, all those facts and details have been carefully researched and sourced several days earlier, usually far away from the public eye. Only on match day are they then brought to life.
The DFL is now helping to make international commentators’ jobs easier with the introduction of the complimentary Commentary Live System (CLS). Rolled out on the first match day of the 2018-19 season, the tool gives commentators access to extensive live data in English for all Bundesliga matches. Users can also call up useful statistics from previous seasons to help enhance the match day experience for international viewers and listeners.
The data is wide-ranging: commentators can access official match statistics on each team, the individual players, and the competition they are playing in, as well as photos and audio clips, profile information and other useful and carefully researched facts. Commentators can also call up tactical formations for each team, and can then click on each player individually to open up additional information. Furthermore there is the option of a live ticker containing data-driven facts and game details, as well as leading player rankings and other team statistics.
The Hungarian sports commentator and presenter András Petur of AMC has been working in radio and television for the past 20 years but only started covering the Bundesliga recently. He has found the CLS to be a very useful addition to his match day bank of information, especially being able to hear exactly how the players pronounce their own names. He said: ‘Whenever I’m commentating on a match or working as an anchor in the studio, the 15-minute period before kick-off is the most important part of my preparations. I like to listen to the names pronounced by the players themselves as it’s good not to have any doubts about the correct way to enunciate them. I also like to follow the live feed as it is useful to be able to react with statistics if something happens in the game that is hard to prepare for. This flow of information is a very big help.’
Future upgrades of the CLS will include a graphical display of video assistant decisions and a provision where commentators can store additional notes to help with their match preparation. The CLS is in alignment with the overall DFL strategy of using its extensive in-house know-how to provide tailor-made products and services for its partners and licensees. The DFL subsidiary Sportec Solutions has developed this tool and is able to constantly cultivate its services in accordance with user feedback.