The BBC has been upping the game for digital sports coverage in recent times, with the Olympic Games and its Winter counterpart showing what an all-encompassing, cross-platform broadcasting extravaganza can look like in an age of near-ubiquitous connectivity. And with the 2014 football World Cup in Brazil now almost a month away, the UK broadcaster has outlined its plans for the prestigious event.
As with previous years, the BBC and ITV are splitting coverage roughly down the middle, but given the former’s multi-platform reach across Web, mobile/tablet apps, games consoles, connected TVs and Google Chromecast, it will be harder to miss BBC coverage than watch it.
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At a gathering in Central London this afternoon, Barbara Slater, Director of Sport; and Mark Cole, Lead Executive at BBC Football, touted 2014 as “the first 24/7 World Cup”, and will involve enhanced live coverage, highlights, and interactive features such as live in-match voting. “It will be the most comprehensive coverage ever,” said Slater, who added that there will be fifty percent more TV coverage than the previous World Cup in South Africa four years ago.
Via the main BBC World Cup portal, video, radio and text coverage will converge. Live video will be available on all devices and will let users choose from alternative match commentaries, including BBC Radio 5 Live, while you’ll be able to replay key moments through in-video ‘chapters’ and rolling highlights throughout a match.
You may also remember that the BBC Sport app, available for iOS and Android, was recently updated with push notifications that let you set real-time goal alerts for specific matches.
Then there’s plans to broadcast five classic football matches from past tournaments featuring the home nations. Kicking off on May 30, the fixtures include the 1966 final between England and West Germany, as well as the 1986 quarter-final that featured Argentina’s Diego Maradona’s infamous ‘Hand of God’ goal. Scots will also be treated to the 1978 group match against the Netherlands.
The games will be replayed in full and will be given the full ‘live’ treatment, including video, text commentary and pundit contributions.
As with most World Cups, coverage will be extended far beyond the 90-minutes of each game. There will be a daily ‘World Cup breakfast’ video online each morning, essentially summarizing the previous day’s events and previewing what’s coming up. There will also be an interactive World Cup penalty shootout iWonder guide from Gary Lineker, looking at every penalty taken in World Cup history.
As noted already, the BBC doesn’t have exclusive access to the World Cup as it does with other sporting events, such as the Olympics or Wimbledon, but it will offer highlights from all games shortly after the final whistle, as well as full-match replays for games it did show in full first-time around.
Though the full specifics wasn’t revealed, perhaps one of the most interesting facets of the coverage will be two live player-cams for each match, which will let you follow a player from each team around the pitch.
With 31 live matches and 160 hours of programming including highlights and replays on the BBC alone, June 12 to July 13 could prove to be a pretty unproductive period for football fans across the UK.