Premier League programming goes virtual for new season

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For the 2022-2023 season, the Premier League has launched a virtual studio set that will be used across its original programming and to support 380 league matches. 

The general concept behind the virtual set is a large, open set inside a multi-story, atrium-like space visible behind talent, designed by Jago Design and implemented by AE Live.

The virtual space, which is “built” next to a soccer training facility, includes what appear to be glassed-in rooms, large wall graphics spanning multiple stories and large, open concourses and mezzanines – with 13 total looks available for broadcast. 

Above, portions of the structure appear to be covered by a roof with open rafters while other portions allow the sky to shine through, perhaps suggestive of the hybrid nature of indoor and outdoor space in many sports arenas.

Many of the elements on these backgrounds can be customized with topical or branding elements such as the league logo in various color schemes shown on the side of what appears to be a large banner on the side of a wall. There are also large, virtual digital displays in some of the spaces that can also be filled with different graphics. In one atrium, the league mascot appears to be etched onto a large, suspended piece of glass.

The virtual set features a variety of options, including traditional desk-style setups wrapped with virtual floor-to-ceiling curved graphic panels. 

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Across from the desk is a large open space looking down on the level below. Talent can stand in front of virtual railings on the opposite side of this with the anchor desk visible, at rather small scale, still in place in the background.

There’s also the option for a more enclosed area that’s finished with a 3D model boasting exposed concrete walls and structural elements and exposed utility systems.

The space is wrapped in virtual video walls suspended by thin wires in what is most likely not something that would be possible in the physical world.

Above this area are additional LED ribbons, while the virtual space’s floor can be filled with graphics to simulate the look of LED video tiles

Premier League’s production arm has an agreement with Endeavor-owned IMG Media for the latter to handle its broadcast production needs. The long-time agreement dates back over 15 years and is good through the 2024-2025 season, according to a May 2022 announcement. 

The virtual set is produced using Zero Density’s Reality Engine solution with rendering from the Unreal Engine and camera tracking from Stype RedSpy. 

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