The UAE football season's biggest match was broadcast live across the region last month as local broadcasters increased the scale of their involvement in the production. Dubai Sports Channel was at the helm of the action with production service provider, MediaPro as Al Wasl and Al Ahli, the two football giants of Dubai battled it out for the 2008 President's Cup.
"This match was transmitted to all the GCC countries and it is the first time that Dubai Sports has assumed the role of host broadcaster for all the TV networks present," commented Paco Herrero, regional manager, MediaPro. "The President's Cup Final is the most important match of the season. It is the first time that Dubai Sports has had the responsibility of producing the International Feed for Abu Dhabi Sports, Sharjah Sports, Al Jazeera, Al Kass and others."
All sport - especially football - places a lot of demands on production in terms of both technical facilities as well as crew. "You need a specialised team that can anticipate what action a viewer would want to watch at any given point in the game and deliver that to them," stated Herrero.
A crew of 40 people from Mediapro and Dubai Sports captured the action from 24 different camera positions within the stadium. "We teamed up our crew with those from Dubai Sports in order to train them to use several new technologies and help them to understand the concept of this new approach to sports coverage," claimed Herrero.
MediaPro, which recently set up a big office in Dubai Studio City, has worked in the past on the production of the Portuguese and Spanish football leagues, which are among the most prestigious in the world. Although the firm has lamented the lack of skilled staff in the region, it has also lauded the production facilities that are available here.
"The production facilities that we have here to produce matches are much more sophisticated than those in Europe. Here, we always use 16 cameras including two SuperSlowMotion cameras, two track cameras, two steady cams, one Jimy Jib and also virtual graphics. In Europe, even the best match is not covered with more that 12 cameras. Additionally, Zayed Sports City in Abu Dhabi is fully cabled and there are media facilities such as dedicated commentary booths and a press conference room, which are really commendable," added Herrero.