The DFL Deutsche Fußball Liga and its subsidiary Sportcast recently presented a world premiere that did not need a red carpet. A grassy green pitch was much more suitable for this innovative device: For the first time ever in an official match, a corner flagpole at the 2018 Supercup was equipped with an integrated camera that offered TV audiences a fresh new perspective when the on-field action got heated near the touchlines. Fans watching the game on TV or on mobile devices were able to feel even more connected to the on-field action.
Specially developed by LIVECAST – a Sportcast subsidiary – in cooperation with camera manufacturer LMP and coordinated by the Sportcast’s Innovation and Technology Management department, corner flag cameras were first tested last May during the Innovation Matches at ‘SportsInnovation 2018’, the innovation trade fair hosted by Messe Düsseldorf as organiser and the DFL as partner. The technology for the broadcast-capable HD camera has since been adjusted. The 2018 Supercup – held between DFB Cup Winner Eintracht Frankfurt and Bundesliga Champion FC Bayern München on 12 August 2018 at the Commerzbank-Arena in Frankfurt, Germany – marked the first time the technology was used in an official match.
DFL and Sportcast are passionate about continuously improving the Bundesliga experience for media audiences and partners globally and domestically, and adding enticing new visual perspectives feeds right into the desire to create the most exciting product. This also shows how professional football made in Germany drives technological progress beyond the pitch, and beyond borders.
Another, yet entirely different, example for the ongoing development of an increasingly accessible Bundesliga encounter is virtual advertising. From the 2018-19 season, virtual advertising can be used regularly in live international broadcasts of Bundesliga and Bundesliga 2 matches – a new international marketing opportunity for the clubs. Following a successful run on 26 February 2018, when Borussia Dortmund played FC Augsburg at SIGNAL IDUNA PARK, and after 2.5 years of extensive testing and development by Sportcast and several technology providers, virtual advertising was used in live international broadcasts of the 2018 Supercup.
In cooperation with international sports rights agency Lagardère Sports and technology provider Supponor, whose system allows specially certified LED advertising boards to be overlayed digitally, Sportcast implemented the virtual overlay technology into the world feed for DFL’s international broadcasting partners. Such virtual in-stadium advertising enables global partners to reach customers with targeted and country-specific advertising.
While stadium audiences as well as TV audiences in German-speaking countries did not notice any changes, the display on in-stadium advertising boards altered through the digital overlay of the transmission signal, thus effectively multiplying in-stadium advertising space and allowing virtual localised in-stadium advertising in the various international markets. Sportcast produced four different feeds that provided this technology to diverse markets: Feed 1 served Europe, the Middle East, Africa, and Russia; feed 2 served the Americas; feed 3 served Central Asia and China; and feed 4 served Southeast Asia, Japan, and Australia/Oceania.