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Sportdigital owner Sportainment offers ‘live atmosphere generator’ to broadcasters

German media company Sportainment Medien, the parent company of German subscription broadcaster Sportdigital Fussball, has developed a ‘dynamic live atmosphere’ generator to enhance television broadcasts of sporting events in the absence of in-venue fans.

Announcing the launch today (Tuesday), Sportainment said that the DLA generator would use live processing to create a realistic atmosphere, which is delivered specifically according to the match situation and stadium in question.

Detailing the new technology offering, Sportainment said: “The DLA generator works very simply: based on live tracking data of the current live game, the automated audio engine always generates the appropriate sound atmosphere for any game scene in real time.

“The audio engine takes into account the size of the stadium in which the game takes place and the number of home and away fans potentially in the stadium. From a selection of hundreds of individual sound files, the right atmosphere sequence is automatically assigned to any live playing situation.

“In addition, the audio engine can be individualised for each soccer stadium, i.e. club-typical fan chants and fan anthems of individual stadiums can be individually mixed into the generated atmosphere.”

The worldwide distribution of the DLA generator will be carried out by Gisbert Wundram and Bendix Eisermann, the fellow founders of Sportainment and Sportdigital. Along with owning Sportdigital, Sportainment and also holds the licence in German-speaking countries for Edgesport, the action sports channel operated by IMG.

Uefa, football’s European governing body, recently commissioned German pay-television broadcaster Sky Deutschland to produce the crowd noise sound effects for its Champions League and Europa League ‘Final 8’ tournaments, which were held behind closed doors.

Sky’s sound is produced from recordings of previous matches of clubs involved. In a move subsequently followed by other broadcasters, Sky offered its viewers the option of playing recorded crowd noise during its coverage of the domestic Bundesliga when it returned from its Covid-19 suspension.

Spain’s LaLiga introduced a virtual crowd overlay and fan audio when it returned to action. LaLiga worked with production group and rights agency Mediapro, graphics production firm Vizrt, broadcast solutions company (and Mediapro subsidiary) wTVision and video game developer (and LaLiga sponsor) EA Sports on the offering.

Wundram, managing director at Sportainment Medien, said of the new DLA technology: “In the stadium situation, which is currently very unsatisfactory for event operators, TV broadcasters and fans alike, the use of the DLA generator for games ‘behind closed doors’ can ensure significantly improved TV viewer acceptance and thus secure important TV ratings, reach and market share for live matches.

“And all this at highly attractive conditions, because the DLA generator is a fully automated audio system with fast operative integration without any further personnel or technical effort.”