The live headcam footage from the course was a first within orienteering – and made it possible to feel the speed of the athletes – and see some of the challenges the athletes met on the course. Even without GPS Tracking, the Mixed relay at Ski WOC yesterday showed good TV potential! That said, it was far from a perfect web-TV broadcast, but I saw so much potential that I had to write a short post about it after my negative article about the EOC Ski-o mass start earlier this winter!
Take a look at this video from around 37 minutes to see an example:
- Live headcam footage is one of the best ways to show what the sport is really about. Great!
- The mixed relay format chosen in ski-orienteering with two athletes, each skiing three legs of 10 minutes, worked very well. The race was tight, with several teams changing in the lead throughout the relay. I think this might work even better than the 2 men + 2 women mixed relay format suggested for WOC in foot orienteering (but maybe only if it is run in the forest instead of in a city – too early to say without testing different concepts, which should of course be done before a decision for the future WOC format is done…).
- No GPS-tracking. The reason for this was that the organizers could (1) only use it on the last leg due to the usual issues with GPS-tracking on relays and (2) they could only use it on a small part of the terrain due to reuse of parts of the terrain on the races this weekend. Thus they decided to skip it completely.
- WebTV quality was not the best – and it was also lagging almost 10 minutes(!) towards the end of the race. The headcam quality was difficult to judge, but it looked like there is a way to go there as well.
Further improving the good parts – and including GPS-tracking on all legs, this could really have potential as a TV sport! In an article at ski-o.com yesterday it was written that the work around this mixed relay was partly driven by discussions about TV broadcasts at Eurosport from this Ski-o WOC. And actually I believe that this can be developed into something which is interesting for the sports channels – the key is in bringing the action, the excitement and both how and when the decisions happen out to the viewers. And I think the track there goes through further developing GPS-tracking and headcam footage – both for ski-orienteering and foot-orienteering. Developing the technical bit is more important than developing new concepts in my opinion – keep it simple, and improve the visualization!
More from Ski WOC 2011
Some links from the Ski WOC 2011:
- Ski WOC 2011 webpage. From the organizers webpage:
– Mixed relay has come to stay!, says today’s winner Andrej Grigorjev. In the Russian gold team was also Polina Malchikova, who won the middle distance in Tänndalen on Tuesday. But none of the skiers in the Russian duo was in the lead until the last distance, where Malchikova finished strong and was able to take the gold medal. The mixed relay gave both the spectators and the athletes an exciting race where four teams long was in the running for the medals. Finland’s experienced duo Matti Kerkinarkaus, WC-debutant 1998, and Liisa Antila finished in third place – beaten by Russia with 45,5 seconds. Norway came in fourth place (Hans Jörgen Kvåle and Stine Olsen Kirkevik). They were 1.04,9 after Russia.
- Report from the sprint relay from IOF A real cliffhanger thriller took place today, when a mixed sprint relay was organized for the first time at the World Ski Orienteering Championships in Tänndalen Sweden.
Interviews/previews from earlier on in the championships
- Tuesday March 22nd. Sprint, 10:00 CET
- Wednesday March 23rd. Middle, 10:00 CET
- Thursday March 24th. Mixed relay 15:00 CET (2 skiers on each team, 3 times per skier)
- Saturday March 26th. Long 10:00 CET
- Sunday Match 27th. Relay 10:00 CET