SIS Live goes to the games

Thursday, 29 October 2009

SIS Live has won the lucrative contract to provide production and broadcast coverage for 2010's Delhi Commonwealth Games, writes Adrian Pennington.

SIS Live beat four other candidates shortlisted by Prasar Bharati, India's public broadcasting consortia and governing body to Games host broadcaster, Doordarshan.

Prasar Bharati sought overseas contractors to supply the key requirement for an international HD feed. Other applicants included Tokyo Broadcasting, the Canadian Broadcasting Corporation and Switzerland's International Games Broadcast Services (IGBS), a joint venture between HBS, the host broadcaster for the FIFA World Cup in 2010, and IMG Media. Estimates in the Indian press put the contract to produce the 11-day event at up to $500m.

The uplink and facility services group will provide all the production facilities and over 1000 technical and production crew to cover 17 sports across 12 venues in Delhi, as well as the Games' opening and closing ceremonies.

"It is a massive international multi-discipline event and therefore not that dissimilar to the Summer games," says SIS Live Engineering Manager, Adrian Kingston. "The Commonwealth Games will present an enormous challenge not least in organising the transport of people and equipment to the sub-continent."

According to an executive of an OB equipment supply firm, TWI, producer of the Asian Games in Quatar in 2006, withdrew from the bidding process in the summer because of the restrictive demands placed on the winning contractor by Prasar Bharati.

SIS Live is also focusing on the BBC's provision for London 2012 for which it is a lead contractor. It provided the camera and presentation positions for BBC Sport during the Beijing Games.

According to Kingston, who is heading up 2012 activity for SIS Live, planning commenced at the beginning of this year and following last month's first meeting of international broadcast rights holders with Olympic Broadcaster Services London (OBSL) the process has begun to ramp up.

"At this stage there's a lot of second guessing about what the host broadcaster will charge and what technologies may be available come 2012," says Kingston. "OBSL will take on board the various broadcaster requests for space, kit and production activity at the venues and IBC and produce a rate card. When that appears next year things will really hot up, but until then most planning runs on the assumption that everything will be much the same as Beijing."

Kingston indicated that the BBC is likely to increase the amount of presentation it wraps around the international feed, such as for channels being distributed over the red button. Super-HD transmission to giant screens at venues such as Hyde Park, and 3D stereo capture inside the stadia are also on the drawing board.

SIS Live won't be the exclusive OB partner to the BBC, so great will be the Corporation's needs, but Kingston revealed that SIS is also hoping to work with OBSL.

"There will for example be coverage of the Olympics soccer tournament which will rove around different football grounds and a variety of related cultural events before and during the Games which will need producing."