In between the national broadcasters that are dotted around the International Broadcast Centre, Eurosport is giving a pan-European perspective to the London Olympics.
Around 100 people are on site for what is Eurosport’s largest outside broadcast of the sporting calendar.
The commentary may vary, but the pictures are constant, and as François Schmitt, Eurosport’s deputy managing director, broadcast & technology, explained, this means the TF1-owned channel can pick the best action rather than the national treasure. “We are not focused on the national athletes, but focused on the sport, and giving the best within each of the events. The idea is to be very dynamic and give the international angle that we have”.
There is no flood of commentators either; the principal languages of English, German and French are represented, but the words of others are fed from home. “Originally in Eurosport we had the three languages and that’s why we stay with them as they are the most important markets,” says Schmitt. “The big difference for Eurosport is that our commentators are there for every day of the year and they are working all year long on these disciplines and that’s an advantage against the national channels that show just a few hours of the events.”
The signal is sent from the Olympic Park to Eurosport’s headquarters in Paris with a dedicated team for each of the international versions.
Although Eurosport constructed the studio itself it relies heavily on Olympic Broadcast Services, the IOC created host broadcaster, which is responsible for the infrastructure across all the rights holders.
Unlike the BBC, Eurosport has a daily round-up programme, produced from a small studio that has been constructed within the production office, as well as a half-hour ‘breakfast’ show. There is also the ability for individual sequences to be voiced from a small production booth.
“Wherever we’re broadcasting from, the Roland Garros or Australian Open, we are trying to do the same style. At the same time we are trying to take into account the ambience of the different events,” says Schmitt, adding that the events themselves are trying to include their own identities.