By Laurent Marini
UEFA EURO 2016, which kicked off on June 10, comprises a total of 51 matches taking place in 10 stadiums throughout France. The anticipated cumulative global television audience for the tournament is more than 8 billion viewers, with a global reach in excess of 2 billion. Each game is predicted to have more than 150 million people tuning in from homes and bars all over the world. So what can they look forward to?
Put simply, a unique viewing experience. The technological advances of the past four years will see UEFA EURO 2016 offer football fans all over the world more options, more choice and more interactive fun than ever before. New digital technologies will this year enable TV broadcasters to strengthen the bonds they have with viewers, thanks to developments like High Definition TV and state-of-the-art 4K video transmission. The interactive side will feature increased social network activity, thanks to UEFA providing broadcasters with a variety of new digital media services.
As such TV viewers around the world will be able to access tournament content on more platforms and devices than ever before, with broadcaster receiving the services in the shape of Software Development Kits (SDKs) and stand-alone ‘turnkey’ solutions. Viewers can look forward to a live match streaming player and also separate video streams, match highlights clips, data feeds and video-on-demand (VOD) solutions for tablets and smartphones.
The demand from football fans for interactive services and value added content was evidenced in UEFA EURO 2012, as the tournament became the most ‘social’ ever – at the tournament’s peak there were seven tweets per second going out using the hashtag #EURO2012. UEFA and the many TV broadcasters involved have recognized that and this year’s tournament will be home to many more interactive solutions.
Innovation driving the enhanced TV experience
In addition to the social network offerings, broadcasters have come up with other innovative ideas to give their viewers the ultimate experience. Broadcasters have installed dedicated communication circuits, allowing them to instantly transmit reports from team camps and from the UEFA EURO 2016 International Broadcast Centre to their broadcast hubs in their own countries, where content managers will dissect the content and distribute it over various platforms.
“It is really exciting to see all the developments that will enhance the broadcaster’s offering at UEFA EURO 2016”, says Pierre-Louis de Guillebon, executive vice president, Project Orange Euro 2016. “The technology on offer to broadcasters at this tournament is bigger and better than ever, so TV viewers around the world can certainly look forward to plenty of choice when it comes to angles, coverage and interactive fun!”
More fans tuning in than ever
According to UEFA, the global TV audience for the UEFA EURO 2012 tournament final was around 299 million, up from 237 million on the UEFA EURO 2008 final, and this year’s competition is set to exceed 300 million viewers. All 51 UEFA EURO 2016 matches will be broadcast live in more than 230 territories around the world.
Broadcasting UEFA EURO 2016 is of course a massive undertaking, but the commitment from UEFA and its broadcast partners to the latest technologies will ensure that millions of fans around the world will have the best seat in the stadium. Orange is working with UEFA to deliver live match signals from all 10 stadiums throughout France to broadcasters and fans.
If you are a football fan watching UEFA EURO 2016 on your TV, enjoy a truly unique viewing experience.
Laurent Marini is managing director, Saudi Arabia, Oman and Bahrain, Orange Business Services.