In recent years our multicultural broadcaster has upped the ante by introducing live coverage of the race, initially on key stages and now every night.
This year they’ve taken it a significant step further again. Not only can you watch the Tour live every night from 10.30pm (AEST), or 10pm if you want some recaps and Gabriel Gate’s food segment, but now you can follow the race via the SBS Tour de France website, Tour Tracker or iPad (update: plus Android and LG connected TV) apps with latest stats and high resolution streaming video. It is wonderful.
But wait there’s more…..
Rather than detract from the audience’s attention to the TV screen these various options enhance the overall experience. We can watch the SBS coverage anywhere (no audio), get some real-time insight from various experts and commentators and have bit of fun comparing your stage picks versus the experts.
I like that the SBS team seem to enjoy sparking conversations with followers too. Last night I got chatting on Twitter with one of the producers, later realising he was actually at the finish line with Tomo and the crew. Stu gave us some first hand insight into the treacherous final descent hours before the riders arrived there, compelling me to stay up to watch what happened. It didn’t disappoint (Ie. Voekler almost going off cliff).
To me, this is the future of entertainment and sports coverage. It has an ability to draw the audience closer and feel like we’re part of the event rather than mere viewers.
Time and again its Australia’s public broadcasters, ABC and SBS, who are leading the way with innovative uses of multimedia and online technology. They seem much more aware than their commercial competitors that multiple platforms can actually improve engagement rather than detract.
I really hope that SBS are well rewarded for their efforts with a Cadel Evans victory and record viewing numbers.