2015 - A QUIET YEAR…

4 August 2015

With projects on five continents, 2015 was never going to be a quiet year for HBS. As January began, HBS CEO Francis Tellier joked with staff that the next 12 months would be the calm after the storm of the successful 2014 FIFA World Cup Brazil™ project the previous year – an opportunity to take part in training initiatives or indulge in some additional holiday. However, it has already been one of the busiest years in HBS’ history – late July’s Preliminary Draw for the 2018 FIFA World Cup Russia™ marking the starting point of the next FIFA World Cup™ cycle.

Ahead of the Preliminary Draw, in the presence of Alexey Sorokin, CEO of the 2018 FIFA World Cup Russia™ Local Organising Committee, a Broadcast Information Meeting (BIM) was held in St Petersburg, Russia, at which HBS’ position as Host Broadcaster of the event was confirmed by Niclas Ericson, Director of FIFA TV. Plans and directions for the mission were shared by FIFA, the LOC and HBS with the 33 Media Rights Licensees (MRLs) in attendance, as Ericson declared his intention to continue motivating HBS to look for new and innovative ways to enhance the FIFA World Cup™ coverage.

Four Other FIFA Events (OFEs) were on the agenda at the start of the year, with the FIFA Women’s World Cup Canada 2015 standing out as the highlight. Bigger in scale than the two previous FIFA Women’s World Cup events which HBS has been involved in, the standard 22-camera plan utilised was an increase from the 18 used in 2011. As the profile of the project grows in stature, the coverage of each edition expands to match. The FIFA Under-20 World Cup New Zealand 2015 and the FIFA Beach Soccer World Cup Portugal 2015 have also been successfully delivered over the summer. 

The 28th Southeast Asian Games in Singapore, at which HBS worked with Host Broadcaster MediaCorp as the Host Broadcast Production Partner, was hailed as a best-ever coverage of the event with numerous broadcasters informing HBS that they felt the bar had been raised not just for the SEA Games but for sports coverage in general in the Southeast Asia region. Over 400 staff members worked tirelessly to deliver 490 hours of HDTV coverage across 10 distinct feeds, provide a full range of multi and unilateral services and construct an International Broadcast Centre (IBC) housing ten Rights Holding Broadcasters (RHBs). 

By the time the summer months, and the activities in Canada and Singapore arrived, the 2015 UCI Track Cycling World Championships had already been delivered from the Parisian suburb of Saint-Quentin-en-Yvelines. Keeping up the company tradition of innovative solutions, HBS collaborated with Broadcast RF to introduce live on-board cameras to the coverage of the event – earning high praise from viewers and competitors alike.

Furthermore, projects in Australia, such as the AFC Asian Cup Australia 2015 and the Cadel Evans Great Ocean Road Race, saw HBS helping to provide the host broadcast as part of a consortium with new partners Gearhouse Broadcast and McGuire.

There is still more to come before the year is over with the fourth OFE – the FIFA Under-17 World Cup Chile 2015 – taking crews to South America in October, the fifth continent (after Europe, Asia, North America and Oceania) in which HBS has been operational this calendar year. If the FIFA Club World Cup 2014 in Morocco, held in December 2014, is included then the previous 12-month period has seen HBS active on all six permanently inhabited continents.
The Construction and Engineering departments have been busy laying the groundwork for next summer’s EURO 2016 project while the long-running association with the Ligue de Football Professionnel (LFP) will continue when the French Football League season resumes in early August. The eighth consecutive campaign in which HBS has been involved, the recent extension of the contract between the two parties means that 2018 will mark a ten-year anniversary of cooperation between HBS and the LFP. During the autumn and winter months the 42nd Berlin Marathon on 27 September and the 2015 FIFA Club World Cup, to be played in Japan in December, will ensure that there is plenty more work still to be done in this most active year.