ESPN, Cricket Fans Focus on Twenty20 Tourney

By Kevin Hilton

The 2009 World Twenty20 cricket tournament got under way at Lord’s in London Friday June 5 with host nation England taking on the Netherlands. Coverage is being originated in HD by host broadcaster ESPN Star Sports (ESS), with facilities provided by NEP Visions.

Equipment and technology for the first ICC (International Cricket Conference) Twenty20, held in South Africa in 2007, was supplied by Broadcast Solutions Singapore, which has worked on a wide range of sports events since being established in 2000.

The location of this year’s championships in England posed a logistical problem for Broadcast Solutions, which looked for UK OB companies experienced in cricket coverage. Visions is dedicating two big HD trucks to the World Cup, with 28 cameras for each match. These include Grass Valley LDK 8300 super-slo-mo models and fully HD minicams, designed by SIS LIVE’s special-cameras division, mounted into the stumps.

“Broadcast Solutions realised it would not be financially viable to ship its own equipment from Singapore to the UK and so looked to Visions to provide them with the equipment needed,” said Steve Jenkins, managing director of Visions.

Coverage of the 17-day competition, and the parallel women’s World Twenty20 tournament, is being relayed to more than 200 countries, with ESS also broadcasting in India, Pakistan, Bangladesh, Nepal, Sri Lanka, the Maldives, and Bhutan, as well as providing the host feeds.

Eurosport is transmitting coverage in Europe — including Austria, Cyprus, France, and Russia — while North America is served by DirecTV (Willow TV) for the US and ATN in Canada.

ESS holds an eight-year contract to cover all ICC events up to 2015.

“We are very pleased to bring top-class international cricket action to more than 100 million fans across the globe,” says ESS Managing Director Manu Sawhney. “We remain committed to bringing alive the game for fans and have lined up one of the most comprehensive and entertaining presentations possible, including HD coverage, innovative camera angles, and some of the best experts from the world of cricket.”

In the UK, BBC2 is showing highlights, while ESS broadcast partner Sky Sports has live coverage. Facilities for Sky’s presentation are provided by regular cricket OB contractor CTV, which is using its HD2 truck.

The Internet is also playing a role during this competition, with a weekly Cricket World audio programme hosted by former cricketers, including Adam Gilchrist and Yuvraj Singh, available at every Thursday.

The World Twenty20 climaxes on June 21 with both the men’s and women’s final at Lord’s.

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