Munich - It’s that time of the season again. For the final two rounds of Matchdays, instead of having the games spread over Friday, Saturday and Sunday, all nine matches in the Bundesliga will kick off simultaneously at 15.30 CET on Saturday afternoon.
That means 18 teams fighting for their respective targets all at the same time, with the make-up of the league table, the European spots and the relegation battle changing with every goal that flies in. It means a day of pure drama for the supporters, but also a day of serious hard work for Sky Deutschland, the broadcaster charged with covering all the action as it happens.
The logistical requirement for this mammoth day of live television is simply colossal. Roughly 900 people will be employed on the day, 40 kilometres of cable used and up to 150 cameras erected and then disassembled.
Additionally, a total of 18 Sky commentators will be covering the action live from the nine games, and a similar number of reporters will be in each stadium to conduct the pre- and post-match interviews.
While one commentator is live in the stadium to guide viewers through the entire 90 minutes, there is a second commentator, part of a nine-man team that brings the pay-per-view broadcaster’s most-watched programme to life from the production studio.
“For the final two rounds of games, we basically have 80 people working from the studios in Ismaning, Munich. Those people are our programme directors, editors, graphic artists, and of course, our commentators,” explained Lars Päglow, head of Sport Production for Sky Deutschland.
Preparing in earnest
For the usual Matchday schedules, preparations begin a week in advance, but for these two projects, at least a fortnight is needed for the production team to get the groundwork laid. “We use the time to test all the technical procedures. That’s especially important when we have a team that will be officially crowned like FC Bayern Munich at the Allianz Arena on Saturday,” continued Päglow.
When the action does get under way, it’s all hands to the pump, as commentator Wolff-Christoph Fuss explained in an interview with bundesliga.com. If a goal is scored in any of the nine games, Fuss and his colleagues can bring news of it to all viewers over the microphone. However, that doesn’t mean they'll be shown pictures of the goal immediately.
Every game, every goal
“That is up to the programme editors of the game that is currently being broadcast. For example, if it’s an important game and one team is on the attack, we will stay with that game until play is interrupted by a stoppage. Then the studio technicians in Ismaning can relay footage of the goal that was scored, with a multitude of different angles and replays,” he said.
“At the end of the day, we’re happy if everything goes to plan without any complications, so that the fans are happy.” So if you thought the day would be tense for the fans, players and managers, then spare a thought for those helping to ensure the rest of the Bundesliga’s global fanbase can see every game and every goal.
Michael Reis and Bernie Reeves