IN-DEPTH: Silicon sees how social media and technology is changing how sport is broadcast and helping BT Sport differentiate itself
Midway through the first half, Hutchison has a near-complete running-order. He then heads to the studio high up in Stamford Bridge to speak to presenter Jake Humphrey, who himself is a social media enthusiast as his Twitter account attests.
The producers are full of praise for the former CBBC presenter, who has fronted BT Sport’s Premier League coverage since its inception in 2013.
Humphrey loves the unscripted aspect of sports television and said he wanted to inject a bit of fun into the broadcast – something that social media can have a huge role in achieving.
“User generated content isn’t a fad,” he said. “Our show is the only one that puts fans at the heart of what we’re doing. Our message to everyone who watches BT Sport is … I want more Tweets, more Facebook messages, and more fans making videos. Everyone has an opinion about football but there’s nowhere to share it on TV.”
When asked by Silicon what the biggest innovation he’d seen at BT since he joined, he said it was the democratising nature of the venture.
“I know I work for a subscription channel but I’m a firm believer that sport should be made as widely available as possible,” he explained. “So when we put the Champions League final or Europa League final on YouTube, we don’t do it to credit for it, we do it because it’s the right thing to do.
“We had four or five million people watching Man Utd in the Europa League final, that’s [amazing].”
Social media can be a minefield for players and pundits as comments can be savage, but former England midfielder Frank Lampard, now a pundit with BT, says communication is essential.
“I think it’s good, you have to interact with fans in the modern day on social media,” he said. “I think it’s important as we’re all fans.”
As for BT’s next innovation, it could be anything. The company is holding another competition, inviting entrants to suggest ways to capture the in-venue experience of being at a match, assist communication between sports fans, how to use data and analytics for highlights and ways of making sport more accessible for impaired viewers.
Naturally, 360 degree video and VR-related ideas are also welcome and the best entries will be invited to present at BT Sport’s studios in the Olympic Park.
For more information and to enter this year’s BT Infinity Labs competition, click here. The deadline is 20 November