After a year of waiting and an awful lot of hype, BT Sport’s launch is now less than 24 hours away and channel bosses are throwing open the doors to let every Sky, Freeview and BT TV home join the celebrations.
What can we expect?
The line coming from BT has always been one of family orientated, fun and approachable coverage designed to entertain the masses.
At last week’s launch party, held outside the huge Olympic Park studios which house the channels, Jake Humphrey promised down to earth coverage from presenters comfortably dressed in their smart jeans and trainers.
And the studio, which we were able to tour between trips to the overly generous gin bar and pie stall, certainly seems designed to support and embrace that kind of relaxed coverage,
The sets are housed in wide open spaces with that now famous in-door football and rugby pitch to one side, suggesting there’ll be a lot of walking around and movement.
In addition, the talk is of audiences seeing other shows rehearsing and prepping in the background of the live coverage. And it’s not just the regular presenters likely to be seen on camera, audience for Clare Balding’s show will expected to stand around, Top Gear style.
As you’ll have sen from the few promo pictures BT released, the sets look amazing with lots of colour and multi-purpose screens dotted around, but my favourite feature is the scaled-down BT Tower which dominates the area behind the main desk.
Somehow it seems appropriate to include this icon of our communications industry on the set of a channel which, in its own way, is also pushing the boundaries of technology.
Many of those watching tomorrow, and beyond if channel bosses are successful, will be watching a channel streamed over their broadband, not broadcast over the air and received by satellite or aerial, yet sitting side by side their ‘normal’ channels in the EPG.
While internet delivered channels aren’t new, BT Sport will be the first time many viewers will encounter one and the first such channel to be delivered via YouView, which BT backs.
More such channels will come, some will be available to users of all ISPs and others will be restricted to BT and TalkTalk, two of the platform’s backers, but it’ll be BT Sport which showcases the technology and brings its potential to a wider audience.
Whatever BT Sport’s eventual fate, like the Tower recreated in its studio, the channel will be a landmark in communications technology.