Julien from the French Basketball magazine Reverse has forwarded us a Interview he did with the responsible persons of Euroleague TV. If you want to know how they work and how they react to the well-known problems, here we are.
3 months into the season, what is your first look on how Euroleague TV has worked?
I can only have good comments so far, considering the magnitude of the project; where all Euroleague games can be viewed live on our web page. We did a few test runs during the 2007 Euroleague Final Four in Athens, which convinced us that we should move forward with this project. Our concern was of protecting the TV deals that were in place, which I think we have been able to do so far, while being able to offer fans across in niche markets the opportunity to watch our games. Though we consider these three months successful, we will obviously have to do a full scale review of the platform, the commercial packages, the promotion etc at the end of the season so as to find ways of improving the whole service.
How many people work on Euroleague TV every week?
About 10: the main group works in Milan, Italy, with journalists and editors traveling to different teams in the league to collect material in order to put together the news and various videos on a daily basis plus the magazine show weekly, commentators covering all the games live, technicians receiving the satellite feeds from around Europe; plus a couple of people in Barcelona that send out weekly highlights and videos after the games are completed each game night.
How many TV commentators did you hire ?
Initially they were 4, now 6, we have started doing the main games with a play-by-play and a color commentator…we are constantly adding things, we are growing…
Where do they come from?
Different places: Ireland, US, Italy, Australia, we are also thinking of adding a German and a Czech later in the season
On which criteria were they selected ?
Initially, living in or near Milan, solid sports knowledge, good approach to be telling sport events…
Some Euroleague TV viewers were shocked by the numerous mispronunciations of a few commentators. Is it a concern for you ?
I guess shocked probably is a too strong word, may be a bit disappointed, yes. We worked hard on this issue, surely it is important for us and you can already enjoy improvements, but I believe the content (offering all games) is the top priority for us and the viewers. the form is "getting better all the time", as the Beatles would say…
Where do they broadcast the games from?
The Infront AMS production center in Milan, Italy
Will they broadcast the game live from the arenas in a near future?
Certainly they will, even starting from this year’s 2008 Euroleague Final Four in Madrid, May 2-4. We have special plans for our main event then.
Euroleague TV suffered from several server issues in the first few weeks.
It was a new system, barely launched, people were eager to enter euroleague.tv and committed some fatal errors in the login process, besides honestly recognizing some real server, technical and access problems.
How did you solve the problem ?
Working hard to try and solve all the complaints which came in as efficiently and effectively as possible. Infront has a Customer Service department that dealt directly with these issues.
Can those problems repeat in the future ?
I certainly do not see anything like that happening again and I am sure our technicians and the ones of the various companies involved in this project will make sure nothing wrong happens again.
Why exactly are games including French teams unavaible from France ?
This is slightly incorrect: the games that Sport+ show live on Tv and on their web channel in France (mainly the ones of the French teams) are not available live on euroleague.tv, but indeed they are on demand starting at midnight on game nights. All other games are available live on our web tv.
What is the particularity of the situation in this country ?
France, as some other countries, has requested some protection from Internet, a very common thing when the broadcaster is a pay TV operator.
What were your goals in terms of sales of Euroleague TV packages ?
This being the very first year of our venture, we set some benchmarks that we are reaching these days and we are very satisfied with the numbers right now and we feel that starting next year with the due advertising and promotion of e.tv, subscribers will be coming in scores.
Are you satisfied with the current figures ?
Indeed we are. Let’s not forget we are the very first league in Europe doing so, the project is quite revolutionary and so carrying with it all the up-down sides of such thing at the very beginning.
Are you also in charge of the highlight reels and the Top 10 plays of the week ?
Yes we are, we are in full control of all editorial live and non-live content.
In case you do, how are the best plays of the week selected ?
Simply picking up the best actions from all games around the league.
By whom and on which criterias ?
By our editors, with full full basketball criteria,
Is there any plan of extending such a major live coverage of European basketball to the ULEB Cup ?
Not for the moment, being the nature and the structure of TV rights distribution too different between the 2 competitions.
What are your future projects in order to make Euroleague TV better and better ?
Well, better than offering 220 live games worldwide…I can say more non-live contents, maybe multiple language offers on some contents, signing some former player-coach as color commentator.