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Virtual Broadcasting

This is a look at the new Virtual Playbook technology being put into action

As I sat and watched some NBA games over the weekend I was reminded of one of my favorite things that technology has brought about in professional sports, the EA SPORTS Virtual Playbook. Virtual Playbook was first introduced in 2008 for all of the NFL shows on ESPN, which is a partner with EA sports on many of its pro sport based games as well as other business platforms. The technology involved in Virtual Playbook has drastically altered the way sports broadcasters can analyze games, specific players and plays. It has also changed the way we as fans understand our favorite sports as well since it allows for greater insight and depth of analysis that we can now literally see.

Here is a photo of the old, John Madden style of broadcasting analysis

What Virtual Playbook basically did was get rid of the older John Madden style of freezing a video replay of a certain play, and then drawing circles and arrows on a telestrator to explain what is going on and then showing the play again so the audience can see what the broadcaster was explaining. Virtual Playbook replaced this older style by “using core EA SPORTS game technology to generate an ‘augmented reality’.” (Source) So what does this mean, well it means that the broadcasters can literally implant themselves within a game so that they can provide their analysis in a much more realistic manner.

This technological advancement was such a tremendous hit that its invention even earned an Emmy for technological achievement at the Sports Emmys awards. (Source) Virtual Playbook was also such a smashing success amongst broadcasters, sports fans, and the ESPN NFL analysis shows that the technology was quickly adapted to ESPN’s college football shows and was then developed further so it could be used in basketball as well. In fact, it was just recently announced that EA SPORTS had struck a deal with Orad Hi-Tec Systems Ltd. to evolve the technology further for use by soccer broadcasters around the world. (Source) This deal and the Virtual Playbook technology were both gigantic steps for EA SPORTS in demonstrating that its technology can serve as a valuable tool for more than simply creating video games. This should open more doors for EA SPORTS going forward to continue creating new and adapting its existing technology for use in other lucrative areas outside of the video gaming industry.

Here are two examples of what this technology looks like in action: 

As you can see it is amazing how this technology altered the way that broadcasters can do their analysis. Not to mention make it much more fun to watch. It truly is incredible to see the announcers right in the middle of the action, even getting to be a part of it as they explain to the audience what is going on. Since I am such a big fan of this technological advancement, I thought I’d share the following video of NBA analyst and former player Jon Barry giving a brief breakdown of the technology and its benefits.

Categories: Broadcasting

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