Developing a relationship with Allianz Premier 15s and the Loughborough Lightning team was a key project of mine during the 2020-21 season, through which we were able to create a flourishing parnership which resulted in three, high-quality live broadcasts.
Producing a series of live shows during a pandemic came with its own distinct challenges, including writing a plethora of COVID risk assessments, working a slimmed-down team to comply with social distancing, and operating under industry broadcast guidelines.
Getting authorisation for the first of our matches, against DMP Durham Sharks, involved signing off our graphics packages, kit and technical requirements with the RFU and the University, as well as demonstrating our capabilities to the team.
The unusual location – the football stadium – came with its own challenges, including setting up a temporary camera gantry in the vacant stands, and a makeshift gallery in the VIP box area of the stands.
The show also utilised a brand-new set of presenters and a predominantly new backroom team, both of which created challenges which the show was able to overcome with sufficient planning and training – both of which was difficult to organise whilst in the midst of a national lockdown.
Despite this, we created a fantastic show which was able to show our skills both to the league and key stakeholders, but also to thousands on the internet across both Youtube and Facebook.
Fortunately, due to the success of the DMP game, we were invited back to continue this work for the Exeter and Worcester games later in the year – allowing us to continue to showcase our capabilities to a wider audience, and creating a set of shows at an extraordinarily high level for student TV.
The game against Worcester, particularly, was at an extremely high-standard, with a strong set of VTs, a fantastic commentary team involving a Canadian international rugby player, and most importantly a fantastic game of rugby for our audience.
Through working closely with the host team and the league, I was able to produce a high-level show that I knew our volunteers would be able to deliver. Through working with a set of other producers and crew members from show-to-show, I was also able to help develop the skills of others in my team, whilst simultaneously creating a fantastic broadcast.
Overall, the shows were successful enough for the station to be asked back, if possible, to broadcast further games in the next season.