Football matches on TV – how do they do it?

Have you ever watched a football match (and yes, I’m talking about soccer football here) and wondered how they can throw so many statistics at your face? I’ve wondered the same thing for years, but I’ve finally found out.

The commentators sit in a room which has a great view of the pitch. They are the only people who have direct connection to the broadcast. Whatever they say is heard by the hundreds, sometimes thousands or even millions of people watching (so they’d better be careful). They don’t have a huge facts sheet in front of them, though – instead they recieve information from the TV station.

The TV station is divided into two parts: one which can look up anything quickly, send out everything to the newspapers, and some even live update on their Facebook and Twitter feeds, and one which can overlay graphics, show replays, and change cameras on the broadcast – for the sake of convenience, let’s call them the statistics nerds and the graphics dudes.

Anyway, the statistics nerds constantly look stuff up and check if the commentator’s facts are accurate. After the match, they can add new facts about the game for future matches. This part is boring, so I’ll move on.

The TV dudes have a much more intense jobs. They have to be at their best for 45-50 minutes at a time twice with only a 15-minute break in the middle (during which, they have to talk to the statistics nerds so that the nerds can tell the broadcasters what to say during the replays). They are constantly tracing the movement of the ball, tracing the movement of the players, and watching offsides, free kicks and substitutions.

Really, I’m having a hard time explaining how immense this job is. But, I can reccomend you a video on a YouTube channel called Numberphile about the same subject. Maybe even tell them TheTechNorth sent you?:


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