Connected Studio Sport brief: my take

Tuesday 6 November 2012, 10:40

Matthew Clark Matthew Clark Senior Technical Architect

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BBC Sport on many different devices

How can BBC Sport make the best use of new technologies, ever-increasing Internet connectivity, and social media growth, to offer more to audiences?

I'm Matthew Clark, Senior Technical Architect for Future Media Sport.

As I wrote in my last blog post, it's been a busy year, due to a plethora of new features made in time for this summer's Olympics. With the Games now over, it's time to consider what's next: what is the future of online Sport coverage? How can we make the best use of new technologies, ever-increasing Internet connectivity, and social media growth, to offer more to the BBC's audiences? That's a big question, so it's excellent timing that we have the Sport Connected Studio to help.

The BBC Connected Studio programme has its own website with all the details, but here's a summary:

Over the course of the year the programme works with ten BBC Online product teams of which BBC Sport is the 6th. You can attend as an individual or a business/organisation, and there's some financial support available for the later stages. (See the FAQ for more.) To give you an idea of Connected Studio's ambition and what has happened so far you can have a look at a post from Adrian Woolard, Programme lead on Connected Studio going through all the current pilots.

So, on to the brief for Sport. You can view it here, but here's my take.

We're focusing on live sporting events - moments where major sport events are happening and large numbers of people are following it online. What can be done to make this a more rewarding experience? In particular, we're looking at two scenarios:

1. Moments when major sporting tournaments are happening. These include Wimbledon, Glasgow's Commonwealth Games, the Winter Olympics, and the World Cup (all of which the BBC will have online video coverage for). These events often overlap - for example, there will almost certainly be days in 2014 when Wimbledon, the World Cup, Formula 1 and cricket are all on the same day.

2. The football season. Every Saturday, millions follow football games throughout the country (and the world). Most games aren't televised live, but there's plenty of coverage through radio, online, and studio TV coverage such as Final Score.

For both scenarios, the question is: what can be offered that makes following the sporting event better? Ideas can be pretty much anything, so long as they cover either or both of these scenarios. It has to be an online product, but that doesn't just mean web pages - interactive apps, perhaps for phones or internet-connected TVs, are encouraged too.

Not got an idea? Here are a few topics to whet the appetite:

Choice: How does the audience want to choose and interact with multiple concurrent sporting events?

Interaction: Can the audience be further engaged whilst watching live events?

Second screen: How best should handheld devices work alongside TVs?

Social engagement: How should use of social media drive a live sporting experience?

Accessibility: How are more interactive experiences offered to those using screen readers or other accessibility tools?

Companion data: What and how should information be added to video to make it more enjoyable and accessible?

Varying audiences: Do people of certain age ranges, or sporting interests, prefer different experiences?

Audience behaviour: How does real-time analysis of site interaction shape what should be on offer?

UX: How can an interactive experience be built, for all size screens, without impacting the live video and detracting from the main event?

Data mining: Can sport stats, user behaviour, and social data be analysed to provide new insights?

Technical speed and scale: Can you deliver real-time updates to millions of users, whilst still staying reliable at key moments?

So, are you interested? If you've got innovative, creative, original ideas for online Sport coverage, make sure you apply. It doesn't matter whether your idea is big or small, or how thoroughly prepared it is. Get your skates on - the 'creative' day, where ideas are developed and pitched - is on the 21st November.

Matthew Clark is Senior Technical Architect, Sport, BBC Future Media.

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  • Comment number 1.

    This comment was removed because the moderators found it broke the house rules. Explain.

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    Comment number 2.

    Hi Matthew,

    I'm looking forward to meeting the team on the 21st. I work for Pusher ( and I hope we can therefore help you with the technical speed and scalability concerns.

    I feel there are bug opportunities to be explored combining recent technology advances and the wealth of data we now have to hand. I can't wait to get brainstorming!

    See you on the 21st!

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    Comment number 3.

    And to think ten years ago you were shouting about how we'd get all this on our TVs only for us to get to digital switchover and for the service to be axed with no regard to licence fee payers who are now told to either go and sit and watch at a computer or shell out a few hundred quid on a Smart TV (certain brands only mind, most don't get the app!) to get the service they used to get - and take the risk the BBC don't axe that within a couple of years under the guise of "delivering quality first".


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