New host broadcast operation Kick Off for France’s Ligue 1 a Success

Last weekend, Host Broadcast Services (HBS), the specialist host broadcaster owned by the Swiss-based sports marketing group Infront Sports & Media, launched its four-year term as the host broadcaster of the French Football League (Ligue 1) with a nine-match multiplex, featuring several broadcast innovations.

More than 500 staff and 100 cameras were deployed throughout France to ensure that all operations went smoothly. It was a promising start to HBS’ involvement with the Ligue de Football Professionnel (LFP).

HBS won the competitive tender for the role of host broadcaster to the LFP just four months ago. In that time, it has assembled and trained a dedicated team of specialists to handle the production of the signal for Ligue 1, operating as a stand-alone company – HBS Production France – under the direct control of HBS.

The challenge facing HBS Production France is to provide all the production refinements and services needed for the successful delivery of the Ligue 1 matches including, for the first time, specific digital media production of league football for the Internet and mobile phones.

There are 10 matches per weekend, usually seven on Saturdays and three on Sundays, with approximately three hours of coverage per match. Twenty stadiums and clubs are involved.

The production team includes 11 TV directors, 15 media managers, 80 technical staff (on average) for each Premium Match and 40 technical staff (on average) per Fan Match. There are 10-18 HBS cameras for each match and a specific camera for a dedicated mobile production.

Thanks to the specific Mobile International Signal (MIS) made available for the mobile operator Orange in France, mobile phone users for the first time are able to follow selected matches of the French League (eight of the weekend’s 10) on their handsets in real time. The signal is produced by a dedicated team of new media specialists. The MIS ensures optimal image quality and appropriate

framing for mobile users and is a progression from HBS’ dedicated new media coverage at the 2006 FIFA World Cup Germany.

Another HBS innovation is a searchable clip database featuring match highlights, interviews, contentious actions, slow-motion replays and much more, created during each match by a team of specially-trained loggers who tag clips with relevant keywords. The database is a spin-off of the well-received

Clip Compilation Channel, also inaugurated during HBS’ host broadcast of the 2006 FIFA World Cup.

“We had a great start and we now have another 300+ games to deliver over the season. We are confident that all will go well, but it’s a really big challenge,” said Francis Tellier, CEO of HBS. “The FIFA World Cup is once every four years, but this lasts for 10 months every year. We are pleased and

proud that we can demonstrate that HBS can meet and exceed expectations.”

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