Interregional Sports Group (ISG) will project virtual branding and graphics at behind-closed-doors Serie A stadiums for the remainder of the 2019/20 season after the Italian league expands its partnership with the company to make it the league’s exclusive media provider.
Along with local production partners such as, Netco Sports Italy, ISG will project branding of sponsors and team graphics onto empty stands in the stadiums at specific times throughout Serie A matches.
Virtual display technology enables logos of sponsors to be superimposed onto TV coverage, benefitting rights-holders, giving them the ability to expand their commercial media inventory and differentiating their marketing for individual broadcasting markets. Before the new agreement, ISG was working with Serie A to project branding onto virtual goal mats during games, differentiating match graphics for four different regional broadcast feeds.
Currently, before kick-off, during half-time and prior to the kick-off of the second half, ISG project, on the centre circle, logos of Serie A club sponsors. Under the new agreement, ISG will expand from their current operation to project “graphics and colours of the competing teams” onto seats inside the ground after the testing was completed by the Lega Serie A assembly, which identified the best option for both organisations.
Joint chief executive and co-founder of ISG, Simon Burgess said, “Lega Serie A are a world leader and innovator in virtual media in live broadcast. We have been working with Lega for many years and are extremely proud to continue to invest in and support new virtual media solutions in these challenging times.
“Our prime objectives are maximising ROI for brands and delivering optimum revenue impact for rights-holders, while never compromising the enjoyment of the live event for the viewing audience,” he added.
The rationale behind Serie A’s differentiation of media feeds was a result of the league’s title sponsor, TIM, who almost operate exclusively in Italy, enabling Serie A the ability to sell virtual goal mat inventory to partners outside of Italy.
ISG produce virtual goal mats for Coca-Cola, Lega’s title sponsor of the Coppa Italia Final and multiple Serie A clubs, helping them with small on-pitch branding opportunities.
“This approach provides interesting graphic enhancement but is not overexposed nor does it impact on the enjoyment of the live action of the match it appears in,” Burgess said.
“We have been working more and more directly with Serie A clubs, using our expertise to find other ways in which we can help them increase their revenues and make best use of their stadium infrastructure to create new virtual media spaces and platforms, whilst
balancing those key criteria,” he added.
It is believed that ISG hope to carry out a full-scale virtual pitch side advertising in the 2020-21 season.
“Our senior team has been deploying and commercialising virtual media for almost a decade, working with all types of technologies and solutions and ISG has grown rapidly over the last six years. We are now entering a new paradigm in live sports broadcasting that presents huge opportunities to all stakeholders. However, it is a very complex process with many moving parts, liable to risks as well as rewards. ISG partners with rights-holders,
broadcasters and brands to realise those collective ambitions to a world class standard.”
ISG also have a five-year deal with Formula One for its global betting sponsorship rights from 2020 to 2024, estimated to be worth between $100 million (€88 million/£80 million).
Included in that agreement, ISG use digital replacement technology to sell regional betting sponsorship for motorsport series. Back in March, 188Bet, in a five-year deal, was announced as the first betting sponsor for Formula One for the Asian region, thought to be worth $8 million a season.
Serie A are the second major European football league to use virtual images onto stadium seats during the broadcasting of games, as La Liga was the first league to utilise the technology after the break because of the coronavirus pandemic. La Liga use production group and rights agency Media pro who helped the Spanish league to partner with graphic production firm Virtz, projecting a virtual crowd onto empty seats in the stadiums.
Although, it can be understood that Serie A and ISG have no intention to project images of crowds onto the stands.
Author: James Parker