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La Liga adds AR enhancements for live match broadcasts

Host of new broadcast options designed to increase video engagement.

15 October 2020 Steven Impey

Getty Images

  • AI software to power real-time in-game graphics
  • La Liga also introducing drone coverage for select 2020/21 fixtures

La Liga has introduced a raft of new on-screen augmented reality (AR) features to enhance the live broadcast of its top-flight Spanish soccer matches during the 2020/21 season.

With the help of its artificial intelligence (AI) software, La Liga broadcast partners are able to utilise in-game graphics, including tracking data and predictive analytics, for their coverage.

The AR graphics present information in several different areas of play, such as team possession, the number of fouls, corners, tactics, attacking areas and penalties.

Roger Brosel, La Liga’s head of content and programming, said that the adoption of AR has also seen an increase in engagement across video content on the league’s official social channels, and adds a “new dimension” to its coverage.

“Since the beginning of the season, we have been there are more clips with these graphics, and sometimes we contribute data that we couldn’t actually watch during the broadcast,” Brosel said. “We think that social media and live matches are complementary.

“Sometimes it’s [thought] that they compete with each other, but we use social media to back up the live production. For example, last week there was a clip of Thibaut Courtois, who is probably the best player in the Real Madrid team because of the amount of goals that he has stopped.

“With the data, we are able to analyse his performance. We’ve have therefore seen the consumption around this continue throughout the week. This second way of understanding things adds a new layer of data that is useful to the conversation and consumption will continue.”

The upgrades for part of La Liga multi-million-euro digital transformation, and will also see the use of drones at select leagues matches, including potentially El Clásico, and comes after Mediapro, the league’s broadcast production partner, was given special permission by the Spanish government.

“You will have seen in some matches, we do sometimes use helicopters,” Brosel continued. “The drone allows you to fly lower and closer to the stadium, and offers you shots which we think are much more attractive and more visual.”

Staying with La Liga, the league’s organising body has also announced that its North American joint venture with Relevent Sports has signed a partnership with social streaming platform LiveLike. The deal sees the creation of interactive watch party-style events during the ongoing Spanish soccer season.

Initially planned for five matches from the 2020/21 campaign, the first being El Clásico between Barcelona and Real Madrid on 24th October, a group of Spanish soccer fans will be invited to an exclusive watch party hosted by a La Liga legend.

“We are always looking for new and innovative ways to engage with our fans and bring La Liga, its clubs and players closer to them,” said La Liga North America chief executive Boris Gartner.

“This partnership provides our fans a unique experience of watching LaLiga’s biggest matches with former LaLiga players and legends, and other fans who share the same passion for football.” 

Among LiveLike’s sports portfolio, the company also recently partnered with the National Basketball Association (NBA) and US broadcaster Turner Sports to create interactive viewing experiences during the basketball league’s 2019/20 post-season.

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