The first of two event days was entitled “Experience Day”, the focus of the day being three innovation games. Two women’s and four men’s teams competed in the innovation games, which were used to demonstrate future technologies live and explained by experts on stage.
First Innovation Game of SportsInnovation 2022 highlights the latest in media production
The first Innovation Game of SportsInnovation 2022 was dedicated to the topic of “Broadcast & Content”. On the pitch of the MERKUR SPIEL-ARENA in Düsseldorf, the women of 1. FC Köln took on Borussia Mönchengladbach, while experts explained live demonstrations of future technologies in broadcasting and the processing of digital content, direct from the pitch-side stage.
Tim Achberger, Head of Innovation & Technology Management at DFL subsidiary Sportcast, was first to present, giving an overview of innovative camera and production systems. During today’s showcase, 90 cameras were installed in the stadium; in the broadcast area, various special systems were used, such as:
- a camera-equipped mini-drone that accompanied both teams onto the pitch before kick-off,
- a Railcam, which travelled along the edge of the pitch at high speed at grass level,
- the Rocketcam, which runs under the stadium roof parallel to the pitch,
- two aerial camera systems operating in parallel, which were used for a short interview with a player on the pitch,
- a camera that was controlled remotely from Hanover, as well as
- a vertical video setup for the production of a 9:16 broadcast.
Furthermore, Achberger presented a 5G application with direct cloud transmission of a match. Delegates also saw a new augmented reality application, which provides information on individual players as part of the live image – with the displayed data moving around the pitch with the respective player. All these camera and production systems increase flexibility and diversity for live production.
Personalising the fan experience
The presentation by Yitav Topaz (Vice President of Strategic Partnerships) and Ido Ratzon (Business Development, EMEA) from WSC Sports who focus on the personalised game experience for fans. The Israeli-American company specialises in automating the video production process, and with its AI-based cloud technology, WSC Sports offers sports media rights owners new possibilities for individualising broadcasts. Based on match recordings, individual highlight clips can be generated according to rules created by the user.
New options through virtualisation
Mo Goyal (Senior Director International Business Development) and Sebastian Ruchti (Sales Engineer DACH) from Canadian provider Evertz Microsystems Ltd., which specialises in film production and broadcast systems, presented the virtualisation platform “DreamCatcher Bravo Studio”. With the “Virtual Camera” function, users can process a high-resolution signal (for example in 8K) in specific sections and thus follow a specific player or the ball in a concentrated way. Data-driven workflows, artificial intelligence and “storyboard” templates simplify content production, increase efficiency and reduce costs, Goyal explained.
For the medialisation of sport, the technologies shown at the Innovation Games opened up forward-facing possibilities and highlighted an array of options for the delegates in attendance.
Collection of Match data takes centre stage during second Innovation Game
The U21 team of 1. FC Köln took on Borussia Mönchengladbach’s U19s for the second Innovation Game of SportsInnovation 2022 at the MERKUR SPIEL-ARENA in Düsseldorf. The focus was the collection and processing of match data for use by the sports sector, referees and the media. Furthermore, Christian Holzer and Dr Hendrik Weber, board members of Sportec Solutions AG, talked about new goal-line technology system, which is based on seven different camera perspectives per goal. They were joined by Dr Jochen Drees, Head of Innovation and Technology at DFB Schiri GmbH. Sportec Solutions is a joint venture between Deltatre and the DFL.
The presentation continued by looking deeper into the collection, processing and use of match data. Coaches and players increasingly benefit from real-time data analysis, and performance analysts are supported by artificial intelligence, which utilises algorithms to identify typical movement patterns, tactical manoeuvres and match situations. Bundesliga Match Facts Powered by AWS, which have the same origins, are now established as a source of information for fans and the media.
The coach in your ear
Philipp Zacher, CEO of the Jena-based start-up Coachwhisperer, presented a system that allows the coach to address each of his players individually on the field. The earpieces, adapted to each player’s ear, simultaneously measure heart rate, oxygen saturation in the blood and the individual stress level of each player.
The ball that misses nothing
The “networked” ball was the focus of the presentation by Dr. Maximilian Schmidt, Global Lead of the Sports and Media Division of KINEXON GmbH. A chip integrated into the ball makes it possible to precisely track shooting speed, flight height and spin as well as passing paths. This also opens up new perspectives for performance and tactics analysis, as well as for data-based media content. The collection and automated analysis of individual player data makes it possible to gain more knowledge for coaches, while player data could also be made available to fans for a better understanding of match situations.
Third SportsInnovation 2022 Innovation Game: Blockchain, 5G Technology and Personalisation
While the U17 teams of Fortuna Düsseldorf and Bayer 04 Leverkusen met for the third innovation match of the day, experts spoke on the SportsInnovation stage about future prospects for the medialisation of sporting events, blockchain authentication and the arrival of the latest mobile technology in sports stadiums.
Moritz Mücke, Head of Digital Innovations at the DFL, described the innovation ecosystem that the DFL has built up in recent years. It is the basis for the development of numerous new media offerings around sporting events. One of the examples is the Interactive Feed, with which the DFL opens up additional, digital and personalisable access to Bundesliga matches. Fans can set up a personalised conference for themselves: Through preference settings, they can watch a match and receive parallel alerts on match events of other matches taking place at the same time. In addition, fans themselves can call up match-related information such as line-ups, player data, rankings or notes on record performances on their screen.
Mücke also addressed the potential of using 5G technology in sport. The latest mobile phone generation has a very low latency and a high bandwidth. In cooperation with Vodafone, the DFL has developed a stadium app for visualising data in real time. In addition, the Sky 5G Multiview app offers users in the stadium the possibility of calling up different camera perspectives themselves and thus displaying match highlights.
Demand-driven connectivity for the virtual world
The German company tividoo specialises in connectivity solutions for a wide range of transmission technologies. Founder and CEO Tobias S. Gramm presented the FNXP solution under the title “Fan Experience Multiverse – Bring Your Fans Back Home”, a platform that virtually brings together all fan-relevant content including media, social media posts and merchandising.
Blockchain use to prevent product piracy
David Geisser, founder and CEO of the Swiss company collectID, described his company’s innovative product authentication system. To prevent product piracy, the system combines blockchain with IoT technology. A blockchain as a decentralised database shared by many participants enables information to be transmitted in a forgery-proof manner and copies to be excluded. High-value products can receive an entry in the blockchain so that a unique product identity is created. This verifies authenticity and ownership.