The evolution of sports due to COVID-19

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Since the global coronavirus pandemic hit earlier in the year and country lockdowns were established taking place it meant all live sports were put on hold. But fast forward to now and live sports are now happening – just differently.  

Here at Gravity Media, we caught up with Marty Meyer our Strategic Account Manager, Post-Production & Production Rentals in the USA to discuss her thoughts. Marty recently joined us in August and it’s great to have her onboard! Marty is a veteran of the LA production community and prior to joining Gravity Media, she worked with broadcast production rental companies. You can read the full press release here.

Marty stated how cardboard cut-outs have replaced the pretty people in sports stadiums, and virtual crowds are filling the stands and pre-recorded audio is providing the ambience you’d expect to hear in a space filled with fans. Gravity Media was on hand with this whilst working on the Ultimate Tennis Showdown series in France.  

Gravity Media provided a full range of equipment, including 19 cameras with a mixture of broadcast cameras and PTZ, to capture the event. The sound design was at its maximum, with the addition of external sound in the mix (such as audience applause) to create a specific atmosphere. And all of this took place successfully whilst following strict social distancing guidelines. 

Marty also mentioned how she has noticed numerous virtual adverts popping up in an attempt to regain some of the lost revenue that broadcasters have endured, and videogame engine Unreal has become the technology of choice for organisations, such as Fox Sports, for real time visuals rendering.  

The melding of esports and live sports (both esports and sports can be live ) is providing an enhanced viewer experience as viewing habits are changing and migrating. Marty specified how the NFL Network and NFL RedZone are now available on YouTube’s base package. Gravity Media is proud to have teamed up with Virgin Australia Supercars to produce their BP Supercars All Stars Eseries consisting of ten rounds. 

Marty also spoke about how many people are also missing out on live music concerts and how they are making a return too – kind of. Socially distanced, live concerts have become a stay in your car, drive in event such as which we saw in the UK with the ‘Live from the Drive In’. We discussed how thousands are impressed with how the new sound system has improved immensely since the days where a tiny speaker hung on the car door. Parking lots house state-of-the-art sound systems that feed into the FM radio along with event lighting and LED screens that provide a 360-degree performance view. (As well as) Another welcome upgrade has been, replacing the greasy hot dogs of the 1960s with the 60’s is the availability of on-site concession stands and delivery from local eateries. Party on! 

It is great to see with more live sports happening this month from the US OpenFormula 1 to Supercars Championships and Gravity Media is on hand to bring these productions to screens internationally! It was also fantastic to catch up with Marty and gain her thoughts.  

Keep your eyes peeled for the next blog in our series with Marty. To find out how Gravity Media can help you with your next production, email enquiries@gravitymedia.com