The last event that Miss Meet worked on provided her with a behind-the-scenes look at some aspects of the sport and sport events industry.

I was one of the managers assigned to look after our client’s sponsorship and activation rights during a cricket series. A wonderful opportunity indeed, learning and growing while doing what I love and having the opportunity to experience the sport I love so much.

Probably the most intriguing to me was what takes place behind the scenes during the broadcasting of a live TV game. We pretty much sit down in front of our televisions and see a single picture with one or maybe two commentators during a sporting event. It is, however, so much more complex than that.

By the time the event activation team was expected on site, the broadcasting crew had already swooped in like a well-oiled navy SEAL team, recced the area, laid out the equipment and cabling, set-up all the cameras, tested all the signals and parked the outside broadcasting units in place and more.

Commentators, usually past cricketers or coaches, would arrive a few hours before the match started. Each one knew exactly where, when and how things were going to proceed. As impressive and exciting as it was to be face-to-face with celebrity cricket commentators, nothing was more awe-inspiring for me than the inside of the broadcasting van.

Besides the technical knowledge and probably years of experience that each person inside the van has, I am sure they have to pass some sort of simulation exercise to remain alive at sub-zero temperatures. I swear the inside of these vans are not just air conditioned, they are directly plugged into the North Pole.

Once you get over the hypothermia, the organised chaos of the van takes shape. Small, medium and large screens stacked in rows on desks are each manned by someone that is in communication with a number of other people on a specific radio channel, all working a certain area of the broadcast. What appeared to me to be complete audio and visual overload was to these men and women just another day at the office. It kind of reminded me of our family Christmas lunches – everyone talking at once, no-one appears to be listening to anyone else, but in the end everyone can tell you exactly what was happening and who had what to say.

Every possible camera angle you can think of is visible on these screens inside the van. Shots of batsmen, bowlers, fielders and spectators all come up at once on the various screens in the van, but yet are delivered with flawless precision to our TV screen as a single image at a time.

I realised then that in this experience and exposure to the nuts and bolts of the broadcasting world there were some very valuable reminders and lessons for on-site event management. What I took away was that successful onsite event management boils downs to:

  • good planning
  • site and venue recce
  • arriving early
  • detailed briefing to all staff and suppliers of expectations and roles
  • ongoing, but focused communication and updates
  • a handful of area managers/supervisors, each with a team of people they trust to get on with the job
  • everyone working towards the common goal, namely a well-executed event delivered with absolute precision to an audience “glued to the screen”, soaking up the experience.