Premier League action will resume tomorrow (Wednesday) when Aston Villa take on Sheffield Shield at 10:30 pm India time. It will be a different ball game on the field, in stands to the television screens at home with broadcaster set to experiment with new “enhancements” when there are no spectators in the stadium to create an electrifying atmosphere.
With 92 games to be completed in a span of 40 days most of the weekends will be flooded with as many as ten games in a day. That leaves host broadcasters Sky Sports with the feasibility of airing only 64 games, of these 25% will be made free to air.
Premier League has released different broadcast timings for the match days. Here are the match timings (IST):
Monday: 12:30 am (past midnight / next day).
Tuesday, Wednesday, Thursday: 10:30 pm and 12.30 am/12.55am (past midnight/ next morning)
Friday: 10:30 pm and 12.30 am (past midnight)
Saturday: 5:000pm, 7:30 pm, 10:00 pm and 12.15 am (past midnight/next morning).
Sunday: 4:30 pm, 6:30 pm, 8:55pm, 9:00pm, 11:30 pm
The “broadcast enhancements” to make up for no live crowd support in the stadium will include live video feeds featuring 16 supporters from each club being screened in the stadia during matches.
Celebration with social distancing
Players will have to maintain social distance to celebrate goals – there will be no chest buts, high fives, hugs and huddles. There may be more somersaults, acrobatics and dancing moves. But for whom. Crowds in the stands played a major role to inspire players to display acrobatic moments in joy for the “marked” cameras for celebrations.
New Camera Positions
With nothing much to capture in terms of ambiance in the stands, the cameras will be positioned differently for an enhanced broadcast value of the live action. This will also include extra footage from within the tunnel area with muted mics. The toss broadcast can now have captains’ and referees audio.
Crowd noise and catch-up options
According to a Sportsbusiness report, Sky Sports will include crowd noise and catch-up options as part of a range of new innovations in LIVE coverage. Working with EA Sports Fifa, Sky Sports has created a range of bespoke and team-specific crowd noises and chants to enhance the atmosphere of closed doors games.
Viewers will have to options to select the feed with added sound or with stadium noise.
Fast recap and Fanzone
New features will also include the ‘Sky Sports Recap’ service, allowing viewers to catch up on all the key highlights during live matches in a short burst. Similarly, ‘Sky Sports Fanzone’ on the host broadcaster’s website and app will allow viewers to watch select matches with friends in a video room and interact while the action unfolds.
BT Sport viewers will have the option to watch games with or without a pre-recorded dynamic crowd noise feature, using the red button. BT will also be launching ‘Watch Together’, allowing customers using the BT Sport app to watch, see and chat with friends in a split screen, while a match is being played.
Free feeds to go soon
Sky and BT Sport, which were offering content free to air during lockdown, have announced that they would resume charging subscribers this month, as live sport begins to return to their schedules. The Premier League represents the key rights property for both Sky and BT.