Thinking Football Webinar: “The role of the infrastructure in the creation of a better TV product”
The second panel of the day had the presence of Helena Pires, Executive Director at Liga Portugal; Sergio Sánchez Castañer, TV Production Director – La Liga; Enric Solano, Deputy Director at Enertika, and José María Cervantes, Stadium Infrastructure Director – La Liga
In the second panel of the webinar held by Liga Portugal, as a part of the promotion campaign for Thinking Football – an event that will take place in November of 2022 –, the guest speakers were Helena Pires, Executive Director at Liga Portugal; Sergio Sánchez Castañer, TV Production Director – La Liga; Enric Solano, Deputy Director at Enertika, and José María Cervantes, Stadium Infrastructure Director – La Liga. This session, similarly to what happened in the first panel, counted with the journalist Cláudia Lopes as the moderator.
On the table were various crucial topics related to the improvement of the TV product – a topic that has been getting a great deal of attention from Liga Portugal on behalf of Professional Football –, in particular through the development of infrastructures.
Football as an entertainment show – Helena Pires, Executive Director at Liga Portugal
“At Liga Portugal we repeatedly assume that responsibility, as our motto says: The spectacle is our commitment. The current Liga Portugal directors board has been betting big in the sports infrastructures. We’re now on the verge of the joint selling of television rights and now the TV final product is getting increasingly important. We’re lending a hand to clubs in this matter, not only to improve the TV image quality but also because we think that it is extremely important for those that play football, particularly those issues related to the pitch conditions. It’s a topic that we won’t abandon, it will certainly improve the spectacle, and we’ll have to make a big investment towards that goal, as is the case with the lighting conditions of the venues”.
Importance of the TV product – Sergio Sánchez, TV Production Director at La Liga
“In Spain, we weren’t as lucky to have the time to improve on various crucial issues to achieve a good TV product as is happening in Portugal. In our case, we didn’t have the time. It’s very important to take advantage of that to prepare a series of crucial issues.
That list mentioned by Helena is a good example, just as with the placement of cameras in the stadiums. The most important thing is that the clubs were aware of the importance of working together towards the improvement of the product during the process and it’s crucial to know that the TV product must be as consistent as possible. In our case, that still doesn’t fully happen due to different light levels or camera placements set by the various teams. It’s important for everyone to know the advantages and that they work together towards improving the product along with Liga Portugal”.
Importance of venues conditions – José María Cervantes, Stadium Infrastructure Director at La Liga
“In order to change the concept, it’s necessary that all of the clubs understand their role. All clubs must be demanding with themselves and try their best to make every stadium have the same conditions to achieve an experience as homogeneous as possible.
The big goal is to make the whole League have the same quality regarding lighting fixtures and camera positions. What you see is very important, but we must not forget what’s behind that process, since it’s the whole that gives a standardized quality to the product”.
Importance of lighting in Football – Enric Solano, Deputy Director at Enertika
“A football match is no longer just a sports event. It’s now also a show. The stadiums reached a state where the spectacle is also dependent on the lighting conditions.
With that in mind, La Liga made a great job, and that allowed us to make significant improvements in our product in the short-term”.
Joint Selling of Television Rights – Helena Pires
“We have this challenge and are committed to it. We started by making a big bet, and I’m focusing more on the infrastructural issues, but we must not forget the importance of the supporters nor other equally fundamental issues.
So, we have a team on-site providing the clubs with consultancy services.
They understood the message and are very receptive to get our help. There are clear dimension differences, and the truth is that we’re all evolving. Those who have been working in Football for a long time can realize the improvements that are being carried out. We have a lot to do, but we’ll be providing new tools to the clubs, as is the case with the match broadcasting, now including every fixture.
We are taking very safe steps, and our Work Groups, in which the clubs are included, have been joining efforts to present important ideas for the project.
We have the time, the means, and the clubs have a lot of will. The fact that the joint selling is approaching also changed the picture, but it’s clear that there’s still a lot to be done”.
Comparison between Football and Formula 1 – Sergio Sánchez
“It’s true that the way of consuming the product will change over time. The new viewer is used to have a second screen and, for that reason, today every entertainment content is a direct competitor to Football.
And Football can’t stay behind. You have to guarantee a high standard to be able to compete with the rest of the sports and entertainment options. The viewer profile will be changing and rejuvenating over time, and Football has to adapt to that bigger proximity to the spectacle that you get by creating new conditions of watching the show.
That’s a constant evolution. We’ve set in motion the cinematographic camera, which allows showing in the foreground premium images of players that score goals or are under the spotlight. It brings more emotion and interaction, which requires a standardized camera plan since those cameras have to be in the right places and well secured, which requires a transformation in the stadiums.
But we can’t forget that the spectator in the stadium is also very important, among other factors, they contribute to the stadium's general image, and the truth is that if the club intends to raise their followers, they have to have a clean and cared brand image.
And it’s with that in mind that the approval of the norms for each season is made by the clubs. That’s a meritorious action, since it requires self-regulation, given that if they don’t grow and cooperate, the product won’t improve. One of the regulations sees that it’s mandatory to have an attendance rate over 70%. As such, we allow an open ticket selling norm for each club, along with a set deadline for them to adapt to the new demands and norms”.
The importance of financing regarding lighting – Enric Solano
“Evidently, the lighting is nothing if it isn’t supported by decent infrastructures, so this pack is of extreme importance for the clubs, which, naturally, have a possibility of financing. That possibility is even greater due to Football being a really important spectacle that reaches many companies and, as such, there are a lot of them interested in associating with the sport.
Furthermore, we all know that the big purpose is to offer a homogeneous product, so it is important to have this flexibility with the clubs. Today, LED technology is the one that offers an ideal quality for what we desire from the broadcasts, given that it allows the clubs to save on energy costs, practically paying for itself and thus being an investment with a lot of return”.
The transition to LED technology and sports competition with the main European leagues – Helena Pires
“That is a path that’s already being trod, as is the case with Portimonense who, by the end of this month, will unveil this new system. The versatility of this type of lighting is completely different”.
“Regarding the second issue, we would like for it to happen quickly and that is our biggest challenge. Right now, we have to think about the joint selling of television rights and the internationalization of the league. But this first step will necessarily be the most important one, also because our current actions are aimed at that goal. We have a lot of people from foreign markets who aren’t able to reach our Football, to our great regret, and we need to change that urgently”.
Partnership with La Liga – Helena Pires
“We have an extremely important partnership with La Liga, with whom we still have a lot to learn and share, so this contact related with the improvement of our infrastructures and TV Product is very important.
In that regard, we have been meeting frequently, since we want to move forward as fast as possible towards the joint selling of television rights. All our clubs have understood the care that we have with the consultancy services, as well as the need to come up with new tools to enhance our product. In the end, the goal is to achieve a more competitive and much more appreciated league”.
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