The Group Stages of 2018’s various European football competitions have now kicked off, and once again Input Media is in the thick of the action.
One big change this season is that we’re now responsible for supplying 24 commentaries on each of the UEFA Europa League nights, plus we deliver a host of other content in the form of digital social media clips and Champions League highlights feeds in varying formats.
The new demands have seen us bolster our team of top-flight commentators. Most have worked with us before on Champions League programming, and we’ve also signed up some fresh new talent to complete our 2018 line-up – the perfect blend of youth and experience.
At the heart of the hosting team on UEFA Champions League nights we’ve got Marcus Buckland and Ivan Gaskell leading our highlights show, with our live commentary team including household names such as Martin Tyler, Clive Tyldesley, Guy Mowbray and Jonathan Pearce.
With around just 15 minutes between matches on Europa League nights, when we need to switch commentary and support teams and deal with any feed, technical or satellite issues, we’re certainly kept on our toes.
With 24 matches on Thursdays, the complete team including sound and technical staff for an evening’s programming now extends to around 85, and for Champions League nights it’s up to 70. With three match nights per week, that’s over 200 people engaged and choreographed to ensure we don’t miss a kick.
And it doesn’t stop there; we’re also involved in trying out new formats. For the Champions League, for instance, we generate 30-second, three-minute and ten-minute clips of every single match across the board within minutes of the final whistle – all ready to air to various platforms, including the full range of social media channels. There’s no doubt the turnaround times are challenging, but we love that challenge and it makes getting it right all the more satisfying.
The digital content we produce is in addition to the more traditional, fully scripted Champions League highlights programming we get ready to go out just 60 minutes after the end of play. New for 2018 is an extra 40 minutes of instant Champions League highlights feeds on Tuesday and Wednesday evenings looking over the whole evening’s play as and when and where it happens – switching between matches and action as the play dictates – plus additional footage of the pre-match arrivals and warm-up routines, which equates to over 3½ hours of programming. And we do the same on Thursdays for the Europa League, with a 4½ hour show for that version.
Every UEFA night ensures high drama on and off the pitch.