Discovery is amping up its coverage of cycling during 2022, including broadcasting the inaugural Tour de France Femmes and the Paris-Roubaix Femmes avec Zwift.
In total, the company is planning to produce over 600 individual broadcasts dedicated to cycling across Eurosport, Discovery Plus and GCN Plus.
Six localised studio shows will provide analysis and highlights for viewers in the UK and Ireland (The Breakaway), Denmark (Radio Tour) France (Les Rois de la Pédale), Germany, Spain (La Montonera) and the Netherlands (Kop Over Kop) during the Grand Tours and major one-day races.
The broadcaster said it is planning to offer its largest commentary line-up of 70 commentators providing commentary in 21 languages.
Discovery will be employing remote production for much of its coverage, Scott Young, SVP content and production at Discovery Sports, tells TVBEurope. “The advantage of remote production is not just cost containment, which is what most people think it lends to, but it allows us to be far more agile, it allows us to move less technical equipment as well as people around the world. That allows us to put most of the budget spent on the logistics back into editorial content creation.
“Remote production definitely makes our programmes far more agile. It means that through a remote production facility we can manage more events in a single day, and when you look across the Discovery sports portfolio it’s not just one sport on one channel on one day,” he adds. “Our remote production facilities through our two main data centres, one in Paris, one in London, will receive all the signals, and we manage the distribution of those programmes from that point on.”
Local teams will manage local commentary, adds Young.”No matter how remote an event may be, or how it’s managed at one of the data centres, the commentators are always briefed and managed and produced by the teams in those markets. That ensures that at the very end stop where commentary meets content, it’s managed and produced from a local perspective.”
Eurosport’s linear channels underwent an on-screen refresh at the beginning of 2022, including both graphics and audio. “We thought very specifically about how do we bring a music theme that’s dedicated to each sport, with particular focus on the sounds of those sports,” explains Young. “I have to say working with the marketing and creative teams on our look and feel for this year I’d say for the first time audio was very much a part of that design as much as the visual image.”
The Cube will also be a key part of the broadcaster’s coverage of both the Tour de France and Tour de France Femmes, the first time the technology has been used by Discovery for its cycling content. “We think where we’re starting to elevate our coverage of Tour de France, the Cube is a unique storytelling tool,” states Young. “Apart from just being a great virtual studio, the ability to teleport athletes, the ability to analyse a particular day’s racing, the ability for our pundits and our experts to ‘zoom’ in to that studio and talk to our hosts, it’s unchallenged what we can do in that facility. So, we are going to turn it on for Tour de France and Tour de France Femmes, and there’ll be a month of men’s and women’s road cycling from the Cube in July.
“We create a Cube environment for every major sport, so the look and feel of what you saw in Beijing was very focused towards not just winter sports, but the Winter Olympics. There was a dedicated tennis Cube, and there will be a dedicated cycling Tour de France Cube that will be built in time for this year’s event.”