Sky Live Football Games Today

Tuesday, September 10, 2019 5:18:04 AM

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Football on Sky Sports

How Sky work their live football magic. Ahead of this, FootballJOE were invited on a three-day behind-the-scenes look at the work that goes into producing their unrivalled live coverage.

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In a cordoned-off area outside the stadium, no more than 50 yards from the turnstiles in the Colin Bell Stand, a Sky Sports production truck is parked. Inside it are two galleries, with a combined total of close to different screens: some showing the Etihad playing surface from more than ten different camera angles; others showing the studio, where presenter Kelly Cates is running through rehearsal.

He explains that the first hour, where Cates previews the game with three pundits, is more structured, with the rest dictated entirely by what happens during the match.

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Taking up position in the gantry next to Andy Hinchcliffe - the former City and Everton full-back who is on co-commentary duties for the day - a notebook with pages of handwritten statistics and background information on all the players is laid out in front of him. This can take at least two days before a game to do thoroughly.

Back in the truck, the atmosphere is very different to the relative calm seen hours before kick-off.

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This will form part of the analysis, and so he also gives pointers to the pundits: Joleon Lescott, Alex Scott and Craig Bellamy. It is easy to admire the sheer amount of preparation that has gone into the broadcast before the game, but this is when the skill of Hazzard and his team truly comes to the fore - in reacting to the key incidents, the pre-match unknowns, and pulling everything together so neatly to shape the programme.

McQueen has finished her rehearsal and is closely examining the team sheets, handed out to Sky 15 minutes before they are announced to the public. An hour before kick-off, Danny Higginbotham - on co-commentary duty for the night - takes his place in the Pride Park gantry.

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Less is more in television because, obviously, there are pictures there. The directors are fantastic here and know what I want to talk about but I can also contact them during a game and ask for a replay of a specific incident or look at it from a different camera angle.

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But in truth, they make up a small percentage of those involved in a Sky Sports match-day broadcast. Typically, as many as people are working on site during a single televised Premier League game, many of which have been positioned days beforehand to ensure everything is in place.

The scale of the operation is immense.

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Not just in terms of personnel, but also equipment: be it the plus cameras required for Premier League fixtures or the 6. This glimpse behind the scenes revealed the sheer amount of work and meticulous planning that goes into each game, and the skill involved in tying all the moving parts together to produce the polished final programme enjoyed by millions around the UK.

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