IPL in empty stadiums! Star Sports coverage to involve fans from home!

Star Sports over the year has acquired a reputation of thinking out of the box for value addition to LIVE sports broadcast. At a time when talks have begun of an Indian Premier League with no fans in stadiums, the host broadcaster is not unduly worried about empty stands resulting in a lack of excitement quotient. It is rather thinking of making cricket lovers a part of the broadcast straight from their homes.

Disney India and Star supremo Uday Shankar has shared with national daily Indian Express the idea of integrating the fans straight from their homes with the IPL LIVE  broadcast on Star Sports.

The major broadcast innovation might see clips of animated fans from their living rooms splashed with live action from the stadiums if the IPL this year were to be played in empty stadiums.

“We will figure out ways of creating and enhancing the atmosphere through graphics, audio, sound,” The Walt Disney Company APAC president and Star & Disney India Chairman Uday Shankar told the daily.

“Everyone has a phone and camera. I just need to source them. We’ll have to start thinking differently, it’s a creative challenge.”

With possibility of the ICC T20 World Cup in Australia being deferred to early next year due to novel coronavirus pandemic, it is being assumed that the Board of Control for Cricket in India can use the window coming fall for the IPL 2020.

Star India has already started thinking on how to restore the fan power quotient if the league were to be played with the stadium gates shut for public.

“Presence of audience at the ground does help to create an atmosphere but its absence isn’t a big concern,” said Uday Shankar. “Whenever you’re watching a tense moment at home, do you not have a very intense expression on your face? So, all we need to do is capture it. So, you can be at home but you can also be on television,” says Star India supremo and adds that if this were to happen by the turn of the millennium with no broadband and smartphones there won’t have been many options. “Today, it’s happening at a time when we’re ready (technology wise).”

Uday Shankar also allayed fears about participation of foreign players as they will only need to arrive around two weeks in advance if a mandatory quarantine were to be imposed on their arrival.  A few requirements to mitigate the Covid-19 threat will be a concern initially, agreed Uday Shankar, but says that gradually all get used to these additional requirements.

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