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TriCaster live sports production: Increasing fan engagement and sponsor revenue

Thursday, November 5, 2015 1:15 PM

In this blog, we look at how Charlton Athletic are taking advantage of easy-to-use, affordable broadcast technology to offer a better stadium experience both for their fans and their sponsors.

Charlton Athletic have found that two new pieces of live production equipment that they have installed at their football stadium can bring far better fan engagement and generate revenue opportunities without breaking the bank. 

For the past couple of months the big screen at The Valley has been brought to life by the club's new NewTek TriCaster and 3Play 440 system, a dynamic and flexible broadcast play out and display system which has decreased the workload of the match day operators and increased the branding opportunities for sponsors big and small.

The new jumbotron screen at Charlton Athletic Football Club, being used with the NewTek TriCaster and 3Play

Steve Adamson, Audio Visual Assistant at Charlton Athletic, helped to lead the search for the club’s new live production system. 

“Our brand new in-stadium screen is one of the best of its kind – and we were the first sports stadium to have it installed. 

“There’s no point in having a spectacular big screen if you are not going to offer fans the engaging content which they deserve and expect in today's world of sports coverage. 

“Our challenge is to use the screen to its full potential to increase fan engagement and sponsor revenue while operating with a small team."

Using TriCaster and 3Play 440 to create live multi-camera coverage with a small team

Using NewTek TriCaster and 3Play live production systems for match-day coverage at Charlton Athletic

“The NewTek TriCaster and 3Play 440 systems we have acquired from WTS Broadcast enable us to use a live multi-camera set-up during the game – even though, unlike a TV broadcaster, we only have a limited number of operators on match-day," explained Steve. 

“We rely on a great partnership with our shirt sponsor, the University of Greenwich, for our match-day team, as our camera and replay operators are media students from the university. It’s great for them to get real life experience and training, and great for us as they play a big role in helping us deliver the content.

A University of Greenwich student films a Charlton Athletic match for use with TriCaster and 3Play

Increasing fan engagement with TriCaster

TriCaster is a brilliant tool for increasing fan engagement," says Steve. "Features such as the live text, which enables us to generate live content throughout the match and flash up latest scores and other information, mean we can engage with the fans much more, as well as making the screen more valuable to our advertisers and sponsors. 

“We can also develop our engagement further in future with RSS feeds and twitter posts that we can integrate in an interesting way with the video content. 

NewTek TriCaster: Young Charlton Athletic fans waving flags

“The 3Play 440 instant replay and slo-mo system lets us capture and play back the key moments of the action, so we can present not just goals but chances, unusual moments and incidents from alternative camera angles – which previously might have been missed out of the package supplied to the club by the Football League – and incorporate these clips into our own post-match highlights reel.” 

Improving sponsorship revenue and brand visibility

The jumbotron screen at Charlton Athletic, which is being used with NewTek's TriCaster and 3Play live production systems

There are smiles on the faces of the commercial team at the Championship side too. The previous play out system limited opportunities for smaller sponsors. Now TriCaster allows brands to be aligned to key moments of the game in a more visual and interactive way. 

“With the TriCaster system we can mix graphics and footage from cameras in the ground in an engaging way. An example of this is our Pie-Cam feature, where the camera focuses on one member of the crowd, who wins a box of pies. That has provided an interaction with the fans which was previously not possible, whilst giving the brand better coverage than a still image on the screen,” Steve explained. 

As well as the exciting capabilities of the systems, the product integration, support and the price point were also key for Charlton Athletic. “We would have had to acquire multiple pieces of kit from separate suppliers if we were to get anything near what we have with this system,” said Steve. “That would have cost us more and there was no guarantee it would all work together. 

“And the training we received from WTS was so good, we were up and running on our first friendly match within three days of them installing the kit.”

NewTek TriCaster and 3Play operator training with WTS staff

TriCaster and 3Play are "simple yet dynamic" solutions for football clubs

“It is great to see the flexibility of TriCaster and 3Play 440 being utilised in all its glory at Charlton Athletic. It really proves how simple yet dynamic it can be for a football club,” says James Fraser from WTS Broadcast, the company that worked with Charlton to supply and install the equipment. 

TriCaster and 3Play 440 are both powerful and easy to use, making them an ideal combination both for clubs that are just starting out in offering fans a live broadcast experience and for those who have been doing it for years.”

Filming the match at Charlton Athletic for TriCaster and 3Play live production

James is glad that Charlton Athletic’s pioneering use has shown that a small number of staff can achieve an awful lot. “It is great to see how efficiently a club can use these products without having to have a lot of staff operating them. TriCaster really does simplify what clubs might have previously thought was a very complicated process requiring a full crew of highly technical operators.

"As Charlton Athletic are demonstrating, with TriCaster a small team can deliver really creative, engaging content before, during and after a match.” 

WTS continues to work with the club to help them develop and discover new ways of using TriCaster. Charlton Athletic are already demonstrating how easy the technology is to control, and how creative their content can be. They are proof that sports clubs can produce a dynamic fan experience – on the big screen and beyond. And with a wide range of TriCaster live production systems and 3Play instant replay and slow motion replay solutions available, you can achieve these goals on a budget that needn’t be anywhere near as high as they might have thought.

This article first appeared in the November edition of FC Business magazine.

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