It’s that time of year . . . the Major League Baseball playoffs are here and the Fall Classic is just around the corner. The hype and speculation are done. A new World Series champion will soon emerge.
Fan attention is at its peak and once again television will be the major medium to showcase the sport. Captive audiences can translate into revenues. Indeed, the playoffs present potentially lucrative opportunities for the sports advertising and marketing industry.
One company, Chyron Corporation, is no stranger to the sports world. For over forty years, the company has been a leader in enhancing the fan’s viewing experience. Chyron made its mark by developing the character generator, which allows broadcasters to offer information, including statistics, trivia questions and advertisements during televised sporting events.
With its software, Lyric PRO 7, Chyron is making it more efficient to offer real time stats and data during ballgames. “Essentially the real growth has been, keeping the viewer interested by providing graphics that are relevant to the game,” says Kevin Prince, the company’s Chief Operating Officer. “They can relate more to the players and the teams because there is a lot more information available.”
Speed and efficiency are crucial. “Sixty times per second it is creating a new image even if it’s a still frame,” explains Prince. “The reason we do is it allows us to instantaneously update any information in real time live on the screen and that gives more flexibility in terms of scoring or data updates.”
The technology also allows television to broadcast multiple scenes at once. “For example, a broadcaster can bring up a bio or stat page with a station logo,” Prince explains. “They can be put up independently even though everything is coming out of the same channel. This adds a great deal of flexibility and at the same time means that we don’t need to build all eventualities into one scene, which up until now has been the traditional way of creating those elements.”
The latest version of Lyric adds some interesting new features. “First, you can now import all aspects of the scene, the camera positions and lighting models and bring it straight into Lyric and them augment that further with local text and applying data,” notes Prince.
It also operates as a building tool for broadcasters. “A broadcaster can build their own 3-D objects and elements directly within Lyric, whereas in the past it was just a font engine,” he says. “This feature takes all these elements and binds them to data, which becomes a very powerful tool. We can do automatic tracking of data on the field as well.”
These features give the viewer a more informative real-time experience. “Because of the advances we made with databases and connectivity with graphic systems, especially in the Lyric product line, the connectivity directly with databases means we can now recall a profile or a particular page of statistics and those statistics are live up-to-date for all viewer needs,” says Prince. “For instance if a broadcaster needs to bring up a leader board or a head shot of a batter, Lyric PRO makes it quick and easy to get the information on screen. In the past each of those graphics would have to be built and animated. Now you just call up the page in the database and it’s up.”
The product also works well with high definition television. “It enhances the experience for the fan tremendously,” says Prince “We also improve the workflow for the broadcasters which means the ability to get more information, live information even faster, quicker and more accurately than we were ever able to do before.”
All of these features translate into a tool which can help generate more efficient advertising and marketing opportunities. “Now it’s very easy to bring up the latest data and that includes sponsor information,” says Prince. “In-game sponsorship becomes a lot more available to the advertisers and now gives sponsors a lot more flexibility as to how their image is tied in with the game.”
Chris Mascatello, the executive vice president of technology sales and services, for ANC Sport Enterprises and a veteran of the sports marketing and advertising industry, believes Lyric PRO is a good tie-in product for businesses that look to baseball for advertising and marketing opportunities. “The difference in the in arena and television broadcast of sporting events over the last ten years is like night and day,” he says. “When you compare classic broadcasts, even ones from the early 90’s, versus today, a viewer will see more in terms of interactive and picture on picture overlays with messaging and live video clips of a player and headshots. These things were not fathomable eight to ten years ago.”
Mascatello sees Lyric PRO’s ability to generate information and advertising quickly as crucial to the product’s success. “It really blurs the line between what were traditionally live game feeds and commercials,” he says. “What the Chyron system allows you to do is create on the fly and have a more ebb and flow for the game. That is consistent with today’s information culture where if something is not presented to the fan quickly, it’s forgotten.”
As the playoffs move forward, Lyric PRO will help broadcasters keep viewers updated with the latest stats and data. It could also help generate interesting revenue opportunities during the playoffs and World Series. As a result, Chryon’s technology makes America’s pastime appealing to the sports marketing and advertising industry as the quest for the World Series heats up.