The Eurosport Cube redeployed to serve up US Open action
The Eurosport Cube, the pan-European sports broadcaster’s innovative studio facility, is to make its debut for a tennis event for the forthcoming US Open.
The network is making final preparations for the grand slam in New York, which gets under way next Monday, and, with restrictions imposed as a result of the coronavirus pandemic, the Cube will be at the heart of the coverage based out of in London.
The resource, which came to the fore at the 2018 Winter Olympic Games in PyeongChang, features an interactive mixed-reality studio with augmented reality (AR) and enhanced graphics to enhance the viewing experience for fans.
Eurosport, which is owned by US media giant Discovery, holds rights to the US Open in more than 50 countries across Europe, in a deal running to 2022, although this does not include the UK and Ireland, where the tournament is streamed by online retail giant Amazon.
Main presenter Barbara Schett and expert analyst Mats Wilander will front Eurosport’s coverage from the Cube in London, and be joined interactively in the Cube by other analysts Boris Becker and Justine Henin, located in Munich and Paris respectively.
Eurosport has redeployed the facility after it was to have been a central plank of the broadcaster’s coverage of the Tokyo 2020 Olympic Games, postponed until 2021 as a result of the pandemic.
Andrew Georgiou, president, Eurosport and global sports rights and sports marketing solutions, said: “The award-winning Eurosport Cube was the hit of the Olympic Winter Games PyeongChang 2018, winning praise from sports fans for its game changing analysis and lauded by the industry for redefining the Olympics viewing experience. We subsequently worked hard to take it to the next level and integrate the latest technology with a plan to bring the Eurosport Cube 2.0 to Olympic Games Tokyo 2020.
“With the Games re-scheduled to next year but the experience ready to go, there really is no better arena than Grand Slam tennis to see the return of the Eurosport Cube. We will not unveil all the bells and whistles straight away as we will keep a few elements up our sleeves for Discovery’s coverage next summer that will feature every minute of the Games and analysis a multitude of sports.”
The US Open, which is taking place behind closed doors at Flushing Meadows, will enjoy 300 hours of live coverage on Eurosport, with the broadcaster’s other new features including event-based commentary, with all matches on at least two of the main show courts to receive full commentary for fans watching on the Eurosport Premium and Dplay channels (all three show courts in Germany and Spain).
There will be the option of live commentary on up to 14 courts, with viewers able to add commentators for local players not playing on the already covered main courts.
The extensive coverage across linear platforms and the Eurosport App will include a special Tennis Legends podcast hosted by Wilander, the best moments available through a new daily Highlights Factory format, dedicated local television programming in Germany, France and Spain, local coverage windows in Germany, the Netherlands, Russia, Romania, Poland, Italy and Spain, and additional digital shows in Italy, Denmark and Romania.
With the postponement until the autumn of the French Open and the cancellation of the UK’s Wimbledon, the US Open is the first grand slam tournament since the Australian Open at the start of the year, and forms part of Eurosport’s new promotional campaign, ‘The Wait Is Over’, celebrating the return of live sport.
In anticipation of the US Open and other grand slams, Georgiou said: “As we look to the US Open, we believe the Eurosport Cube can transform how fans connect with tennis and the players, bringing to life technical nuances and the reasons matches are won or lost in a way that’s never been seen before in the tennis.
“The Eurosport Cube forms part of our plans to enhance our storytelling throughout the tournament which centres around the opportunity for fans to watch all courts, live and on-demand and however they choose to view. With Roland-Garros from Paris also coming up next month, we are entering one of the most exciting periods for tennis fans in Europe who never have to miss a shot with Eurosport.”
A feature on some of the innovative methods broadcasters have had to employ to continue producing live sports coverage in recent months appears in the new edition of Sportcal Insight, which is available to read for free here.