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Behind the scenes: PDC Home Tour darts

By 27th April 2020 One Comment

Broadcast Sport gets the low down on how the innovative home darts tournament has been staged and broadcast.

Loop Productions, based at The Bottle Yard Studios in Bristol has revealed its role in getting the PDC Home Tour darts tournament on air.

Speaking to Broadcast Sport, the company’s production engineer Adam Young, said: “We used two locations in Bristol to bring together all the video feeds that go into the live production. To comply with distancing regulations, our two live directors each have hardware vision mixers at their respective homes. We’re taking on an event lasting 32 consecutive nights and being streamed and broadcasted around the globe, so we needed to split workload between the team.”

The players and pundits participate in the broadcast via their mobiles and laptops using video conferencing software, with the feeds taken into Loop Productions’ vision mixing hardware.

For the players, it’s just a matter of simply pointing their cameras at the darts board in their living room, shed or hallway and connecting to the video conferencing call.

The live coverage from each players cameras is mixed with on-screen graphics and commentary by the live directors.

The Loop Productions office at The Bottle Yard Studios acts as the hub for the live graphics. Working with third-party data providers SportRadar, Loop utilises the IT infrastructure at the studios to provide a secure connection to the SportRadar servers.

A SportRadar operator takes part in the video conference remotely so they can keep up with the action with very little latency. Data from SportRadar is received at The Bottle Yard and passed on to the vision mixer back at their home gallery.

Young says: “We’ve thoroughly road-tested our workflow for the past three seasons on the PDC Pro Tour, but normally we are at the same venue. We wouldn’t normally choose to be reliant on the cameras, microphones and lighting equipment that sportspeople have in their houses, so a lot of quality control goes into ensuring the best outcome for all 128 players who are taking part in the PDC Home Tour.”

Coverage of the tournament has been picked up by broadcasters including DAZN in the USA, Sky Sports in the UK and Fox Sports in Australia, and is also delivered to the PDC’s dedicated online player ‘PDC.TV’ and to bookmaker websites around the world.