The Tokyo 2020 Olympic Games is set to receive ‘more coverage by broadcast partners than any previous Olympic Games’ across linear television and digital platforms, as organisers launched a new suite of digital tools to elevate fan engagement during the event.
The International Olympic Committee (IOC) and Olympic Broadcasting Services (OBS) have collaborated with the Tokyo 2020 Organising Committee and Olympic broadcast partners (RHBs) to create a range of new interactive experiences as part of its ‘Share the Passion’ project.
After spectators were banned from attending the delayed Summer Games when a state of emergency was declared in Japan, OBS announced it will promise more than 9,000 hours of content utilising 360-degree replays, virtual reality (VR) and analytical data processed by artificial intelligence (AI).
Some of the features include a ‘Fan Video Matrix’ allowing fans to share their reactions to the sporting action in five-second video selfies, which will be displayed as a video matrix inside the venue.
In addition, a virtual ‘cheer’ button will be embedded on several broadcasters’ digital platforms as part of a ‘Cheer Map’. The system collects all the cheers and renders a global map of ‘cheer activity’. The map is sent as a video stream to broadcasters and showcased on venue video boards.
Furthermore, at selected venues, Olympians will be able to interact live, straight after their competition with their family and friends back home through dedicated ‘Athlete Moment’ stations.
“Our ambition is to bring the magic of the athletes’ achievements to the world on an unprecedented scale,” emphasised OBS CEO, Yiannis Exarchos. “Technology is going to play a critical role and allow us to bring fans ‘inside the venue’ virtually. This is an important ambition, not just for the fans, but also for the athletes as they compete on the world’s biggest stage.
“The IOC and OBS have been able to benefit from the great partnerships we have with the world’s leading media companies and sponsors and with Tokyo 2020. We also believe these new digital innovations will leave a legacy which we will build on at future editions of the Olympic Games.”
In the host nation of Japan, coverage is expected to double that of the Rio 2016 Olympic Games, whilst in the US, NBCUniversal has more than 7,000 hours of coverage planned, marking an Olympic record.
Meanwhile, in Europe, Discovery Eurosport will screen up to 4,000 hours of coverage available in 48 territories, after the BBC revealed plans to showcase over 350 hours of televised coverage throughout the event.