Pandemic accelerates improvements in live-stream sport coverage *H&H Plus*

  • Equestrian sport running behind closed doors has resulted in an enthusiastic audience for live-streaming as increasing numbers of shows and events broadcast to the world. H&H finds out more about the latest developments...

    THE pandemic has “accelerated” changes to event coverage as more shows look to include live-streaming, making the sport accessible to a worldwide audience.

    With competitions running behind closed doors, and restrictions on the number of people allowed to attend, more shows across the disciplines are being made available to view online.

    Richard Burdett, chief creative officer of equestrian sports network Horse & Country, told H&H live-streaming has been “transformative” in providing access to the sport.

    “Almost every day you can watch something live, and when the doors reopen to spectators that won’t go away,” he said. “People are now factoring live-streaming in and saying ‘this is part of our business’.

    “Covid-19 has accelerated changes that were already taking place and we’re at least two to three years ahead of what was already the direction of travel.”

    Mr Burdett added he believes the sport will be “dramatically more covered than it ever has been before”.

    “For the grassroots rider it’s their chance to be on screen and share that with their family and friends,” he said.

    Richard Clapham, organiser of Cornbury Horse Trials, told H&H while live-streaming had always been on the agenda, he did not know if the event would have pushed for it in its first year had it not been for running behind closed doors – but said it allowed Cornbury to showcase what it had to offer.

    “It’s fascinating to look at the global reach we had, which is phenomenal for us and the sport. At our high we had 60,000 people viewing and reached more than 44 countries,” he said. “We made the footage available on Facebook and that provided another dimension, with the commentary team interacting with the Facebook viewers, which really allowed people to feel very included.”

    Commentator John Kyle has provided remote commentary from the UK for live-streamed events abroad, including the eventing Nations Cup at Strzegom, Poland (27–30 August 2020).

    “In essence a show will send a signal to me and I apply my commentary and send it directly to where it’s supposed to go. This allows a solution 80% as good as physically being there,” he said.

    “Live-streaming has the opportunity to be an enormous positive for the sport, giving coverage to more people and satisfying the demand for the sport when it is behind closed doors.”

    A spokesman for ClipMyHorse.TV told H&H it covered more than 300 shows from around the globe this summer, and the numbers of viewers had grown “constantly”.

    “What we’ve found positive from the pandemic is that on the one hand we were forced to think outside of the box and come up with new ways to entertain our viewers, but also together with different shows we’ve been able to test new ways of increasing the reach to an online audience,” he said.

    H&H 8 October 2020


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