Video and sport – a visualisation

Posted on 19 Jul 2017

The role video plays in sport has been something that I have had to consider closely during my work on CricHQ.tv - both the manner in which it is used and the advances it enables. From coaching and performance, to broadcasting and scouting. From evaluation to just plain fun and engagement there are an increasing number of ways video can be utilised in sport. Not only this, there is also an increasing desire to use it across the different levels of player and across the different types of sporting activity.

To try and get a grip on all these uses and types of video I created the following positioning graph, the idea being you can put any level or activity of sport somewhere within it.

The two axis represent the level the player is at – from purely social at one end to elite professional at the other – and the type of activity the player is participating in – from a personal training session to a cup final. The following shows some examples of this:

So with this in mind let’s have a look at the different types of activity that cover video in sport and the levels they operate at:

  • TV / Online Broadcasters only for the very elite end of sport and even then only for the big games they play in. This will vary from sport to sport but as an example only around 3-5% of professional cricket in England is broadcast due to the production expense required. There is no lack of consumer appetite for viewing other levels and standards but traditional techniques require large amounts of equipment and manual input.
  • Pro Sports Video Analysis the impact video analysis can have on sports is irrefutable with countless studies proving the benefit and return from it. However, currently this is restricted only to the very top level. One barrier is the cost of equipment and licenses for the tools that carry this out. The other barrier is the expense of having someone dedicated to operating the system as they have to ‘mark up’ the video either as it happens or afterwards. This is hugely time expensive.
  • Semi-pro / Amateur Videographers if the expense of a full production cannot be afforded, it is possible for semi pro or amateur enthusiasts to video sport. This is normally restricted to important games at a good standard but outside of the top level.
  • Coaching Apps there are some excellent coaching apps that now work on phones and tablets. These are used at different levels of coaching but almost entirely during training sessions. There are also the other issues of using such apps such as battery life and someone who has to operate the system.
  • General Mobile Phone Footage finally of course there is general mobile phone footage. This can occur across the types of activity and is done in an ad-hoc manner with the results usually posted to social media. The main use of these is for a social purpose.

There is no doubting the desire to use more video in sport for all the reasons mentioned and as you can see from the gaps in the diagram above there is a wide range that is not currently covered. The only question that remains is how can you do it in a cost effective manner? This is exactly the mission we have set out on in cricket and we have created CricHQ.tv as the tool through with which we will do it. CricHQ.tv is simple and automated so it can be used at levels of sport which would never have been able to use anything before, whilst at the same time having features and performance that ensure it can also be used at the very highest levels.

The following are some examples of where CricHQ.tv has already been used to date.

The same underlying technology and platform has been used from Surrey County Cricket club live streams to Backwell Under 11s. It all employs the same principles of using the fact that the score is being kept – which is needed at every game of cricket – and integrating with that score to automatically produce video replays of every single ball marked up with the relevant information. At the same time it also provides automatic live streams with on screen TV graphics and plug in radio commentary where available.

Example screenshots from the live stream and automatic replays from Greenmount’s game against the Lashings. All started automatically as soon as the CricHQ scoring system recorded the first ball with graphics kept up to date automatically.

The system automatically knows when the end of the over is and puts in place a scorecard:

With more video being available it can provide all the benefits mentioned above such as coaching and analysis, social, fan and supporter engagement but it also opens up whole new areas. With the video automatically available and view-able anywhere in the world with such a simple setup, it also opens up a whole new potential for scouting and identifying the best players. The MCC Young Cricketers have been using the system this season which has resulted in more cricketers signing contracts than ever before.

The benefits gained from CricHQ.tv in it’s first few months have been startling - have a read of some of the case studies from people using it this season. However, some of the most enjoyable feedback came on a phone call to our hotline at 3:30pm last Saturday. A 90 year old lady from Bury in Manchester phoned up asking why her laptop was not working. After suggesting she turned it off and on again and with her able to view her live stream, she explained to me how delighted she was to be able see her beloved Bury play cricket again for the first time in 10 years as she had problems getting to the ground. It was another example of the desire of people of all ages to watch and engage with the fantastic game of cricket that is happening all around us. We hope to enable it to reach many more people.

I founded My Action Replay and am now head of video at CricHQ – the World’s largest digital platform for cricket. Combining the two products and platforms has created CricHQ.tv with a mission to become the World’s biggest broadcaster of cricket. We have a solution that covers any level of cricket just drop me a line on barnaby.kent@crichq.com or fill in the CricHQ.tv form here.

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