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I-League Broadcast: Early glitches explained and why things will only get better

Published at :January 5, 2020 at 8:59 PM
Modified at :January 9, 2020 at 8:21 PM
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Punit Tripathi

The telecast of the new campaign was initially adjudged as poor and has improved over time.

I-League is the second division of Indian football, officially, or at least by the competition it has been given by the Asian Football Confederation to participate in. With a new broadcaster and renewed ‘hope,’ the I-League started this year yet again with a new broadcast partner. DSport were roped in by the AIFF amid much fanfare. The 13th edition of the league began on November 30th, comprising of 11 teams. InStat, an Ireland-based company, was commissioned to produce the live audio-visual feed for the same. The agreement stated that InStat would produce the same with an 8-camera setup. [KH_ADWORDS type="3" align="center"][/KH_ADWORDS] The broadcast started poorly, with lags and disturbances and has mildly got better. The NEROCA FC Vs Gokulam Kerala game on November 30 wasn’t broadcast due to technical reasons. In the Punjab FC Vs Indian Arrows game, the broadcast stopped suddenly and highlights of some other game was shown. Fans were a little distraught, but things have been improving, at a very slow pace. It seems that InStat were using the internet for their feed distribution and thus, at venues with low bit-rate, the video feed distributed wasn’t of high quality. The cameras being used have high-quality outputs, but the below-par internet facilities at some venues in India is a major issue that the producers have faced in the past as well. If the internet quality at the location is good, the audiences receive good quality footage. In the beginning, some fans felt that camera angles and focus on players could’ve been done better and the producers have worked on it already. The internet issue was highlighted even further during Chennai City FC’s encounter against Real Kashmir, where since the abrogation of Article 370 on August 5, internet services have been suspended. DSport had tweeted about the same, saying [embed][/embed]

A tweet from DSport regarding the issue in I-League broadcast

So, the production was done, but it was almost impossible to send the live feed to the channel. It was broadcast fairly well on the I-League website for the fans to catch all the action. The federation cannot be blamed for issues like these. It is a national situation and fans must understand that these things are beyond the broadcaster’s control. But accountability lies somewhere. I-league clubs have been asked to arrange for internet facilities, which shouldn't have been done in the first place. Also, a different company is still producing some games and not InStat, who had been signed for the job. Some reports have stated that InStat have not been able to transfer all their equipments to all stadiums, and thus, are not being able to broadcast the matches as they would've liked. Reaching the North-East clubs has been difficult, and the quality has been questionable whenever these clubs have hosted. There have been instances when the quality has been really poor from the Fatorda Stadium, home for the Indian Arrows. There were no sideline cameras and full coverage of some games has been in zoom-in mode, distorting the quality and viewing experience. At another instance, Instat allegedly used mobile phones to record the match. If this is the quality of the broadcast, how will the clubs attract investors? Things that have changed for the better, according to some fans:
  1. Scorecard graphics. The current one looks decent and much improved.
  2. The camera shakes have reduced.
  3. The viewing angle (shooting angle, hence) has become better.
  4. The number of replays of an event have reduced, resulting in a better viewing experience.
  5. The switch in cameras aren’t too frequent and when they are, they aren’t too jerky.
[KH_RELATED_NEWS title="Related News | Article Continues Below"][/KH_RELATED_NEWS] Thus, the telecast may be getting better by the day, but fans still long for a clean and smooth viewing experience. The fans must understand that the poor beginning was not the Federation's fault. They did a fine job in finding a company that lists Bayern Munich and FC Barcelona as their clients and promises 1080p broadcast. This is a three-year deal and InStat had, in an interview with Khel Now, said that it wants great things for the I-League. A few proper games here and there, the glitches have been far too many. We hope they get better at this in times to come.