The rights to highlight
The BBC Sport website has delivered some major projects in the past few years - World Cups, Olympics, big breaking news stories - but I would argue that none have been as complex and wide-ranging as the Football League coverage which launches this week.
The BBC won the rights to be a broadcast partner of the Football League back in 2007, as part of a joint bid with Sky, who will be the primary rights holder. Thus, from Saturday 8 August 2009, there will be a TV highlights show on Saturday nights on BBC TV after Match of the Day ("The Football League Show") wrapping up all the games from that day's matches in the Championship, League One and League Two, and on top of that, there will be an awful lot of highlights to watch for UK users on this website.
Namely, this website will be bringing you video highlights of every game in the Coca Cola Football League, Carling Cup and Johnstone's Paint Trophy. That is quite a simple way of stating what you will see on bbc.co.uk/football. How it gets there is a little more complicated.
BBC Sport is in partnership with an independent production company, IMG, as well as BT, on this project. Hence all of the 'film' (the industry term is "rushes") captured by the camera operators at each and every ground is sent to BT Tower in central London on the evening of the game. Here the rushes are edited into neat packages, ready for publication on the website at midnight the following day.
So, I will take a moment to clarify that, because it is not an easy thing to explain. We are allowed to publish from midnight the day after matches. We will try to get some content up on the stroke of midnight, but most of it will go live the following morning.
That means, if your team plays on a Saturday in any of the competitions I outlined above, you can expect to see a video edit of that game (approx two-five minutes) on this website when you get to your desk at 9am on Monday mornings. If your game is on a Tuesday night, check in with us on the Thursday morning. Sunday game? We should be showing that to you on Tuesday mornings. You get the picture!
In addition to the match edits, we will also offer a video edit rounding up all of the games from each division (one edit for each division) after each full programme of fixtures.
If you really cannot wait to see your team's goals online, there are two other options I can point you to. The Saturday night Football League Show will be on the BBC iPlayer from Sunday mornings, and a lot of club websites will be offering their own games earlier than we are allowed to, mostly (I believe) on a subscription basis.
The BBC will also have 10 live Championship games on TV this season, plus one leg of each Carling Cup semi-final, and the final itself. Each of those live games will be streamed on this website (again, for UK users only), starting with West Brom v Newcastle this coming Saturday; two of Sir Bobby Robson's clubs and, coming so soon after his death, it should be a poignant occasion.
Beyond video, this site will also see some changes to the way we present live football coverage this season.
It used to be the case that our match previews used to become a bit, well, empty while the match was going on. We used to put "Match report to follow later" there, while a separate page carried a feed of live data, which we get from the Press Association who have reporters at every ground. Hardly an ideal user experience.
Well, we think we've fixed that now.
When you read our match previews you will effectively be looking at what will become a 'match centre' for that game. When the game starts, all the live data from PA will feed straight into that page, and the report will also appear there, and then finally, after the delay outlined above, the video from that match. Some of this content - principally the live data from PA - will be available on our mobile site for the first time.
You should also see a bunch of new features including live scores modules on the right-hand side of our much-loved text commentaries; as-it-stands tables which means every time a goal goes in, the table will automatically update to show how things would look if the score stayed that way; an easy-to-view guide on club pages to your team's last three games, next three games, and others. Most of these new features will update automatically without you needing to wear out your put-upon F5 key!
I have probably bored all but our most fanatical users into submission by now, so I shall stop, but I'm happy to answer any queries about Football League coverage on the web, or any other aspect of our website, and if your question is about the TV coverage, I am not responsible for that, but I'll see if I can find the answer - or get somebody more qualified to post here.
PS - it's been a while since we updated this Sport Editors Blog. Sorry. I tend to think that a lot of the behind-the-scenes stuff on the website is a little dry! Plus a lot of our TV 'talent' now have blogs where a lot of issues to do with TV coverage tend to get discussed, eg Jake Humphrey's blog. Hence this area has become a little neglected. But I am happy to blog here if there's enough interest. I also won't take any offence if you choose to tell me that having read this one, you're happy to not see any more!