#FWMCC2017: Taking curling global

  • Busy mixed zones have been a regular feature at the Ford World Men's Photos: © WCF / Richard Gray

To say there’s a lot of work that goes into a live sports broadcast would be an understatement. Take the Ford Men’s World Curling Championship 2017 being hosted in Edmonton, Canada, where there’s more going on behind the scenes, that meets the eye.

Joanna Kelly, Broadcast Manager for World Curling TV (WCTV), has a key role in ensuring the production for events runs as smoothly as possible. This includes managing a crew of 64 employees from seven different nations, with more than 22 separate fixed roles. Don’t forget to include the 160 media accreditations - more than 45 from TSN, 17 from NHK, eight from the Japanese media and reporters and photographers from Canada, Netherlands, Sweden and USA.

Providing more than 90 territories with live curling coverage through the network of channels that broadcasters have, isn’t as simple as pointing a camera and going live.

“Ahead of time, broadcaster’s worldwide approach the World Curling Federation to express their interest in televising the event. The planning for this event started 365 days ago,” Kelly said.

There are many factors to consider, including who the competing teams are and where the event is being hosted.

“Because where the event is happening has an influence on the domestic market – like last week in China [at the CPT World Women’s Curling Championship 2017],” Kelly said.

“Here in Edmonton we have about ten broadcast partners who are taking live coverage, but many more who are taking small news clips that are prepared by our team. From those broadcast partners they have wide reaching channels, so it’s not just one territory that their coverage is seen,” she explained.

Everyone on the team, between directors, cameramen, editors, floor managers, producers and audio mixers play a vital part in creating entertaining broadcasts to captivate the curling audience.

For photographers, it’s more than taking the photos. A rigorous editing and selection process follows each shot.

"I probably only [take] about 300 pictures a day and move about 30,” said Jonathan Hayward, photographer for the Canadian Press.

“The Canadian press is the distributor for Associated Press [AP] in Canada. We distribute their stuff in Canada, and then they distribute our stuff around the world. I would hope hundreds of millions [of people view] the photos,” he explained.

The reach on photos taken by Hayward are untrackable, guaranteed to be seen from nation to nation.

“It’s just wild where this stuff goes. AP is the world’s largest newspaper, and when your stuff gets distributed by them, it just goes. You can’t even look at where your pictures are – it’s just everywhere. It’s out on hundreds of news sites and newspapers around the world,” Hayward said.

“For instance, what a lot of people don’t know is a lot of TV stations use it, like TSN, uses almost 30 pictures a day from me here. All the pictures where you can actually click on to watch a video is my still [picture] and then it goes to the video. It gets used in a lot of things like that. Radio stations are big people for using this stuff too,” he said.
Throughout the week, the Japanese men’s team had the spotlight on them before, during, and after each game. NHK – Japan’s largest broadcasting organisation, broadcasted Japan’s 11 games for an average of one million viewers. Also, following the team on their successful Olympic berth chase, are more than a dozen journalists writing for Japan’s biggest newspapers – one being Yomiuri Shimbun, with ten million readers.

“There are 20-30 from the Japanese media including journalists, TV crew, photographers. The last few years, we built six curling [clubs]. Curling has become a major sport in Japan – I’m sure,” said Soichiro Takeda from Yahoo! Japan.

This was a huge year for the men’s Japanese curling team, as this event secured their nation a spot in the 2018 Olympic Winter Games for the first time since 1998, where Japan were hosts. They also won their first gold medals at the Pacific-Asia Curling Championship 2016, in Uiseong, Republic of Korea.

With the 2018 Olympic Winter Games within a year’s reach, curling has never been more accessible to watch worldwide.

“We have produced nearly 200 hours of live curling coverage from the world championships this year and it’s never been so good,” concluded Kelly.
Curling fans around the world will be able to follow live coverage of these championships on the event website and the World Curling Federation’s YouTube channel, www.youtube.com/WorldCurlingTV

Live broadcast coverage may be geo-blocked in your region. For all broadcast information visit, www.worldcurling.org/broadcast

To keep up-to-date with all the action from the FWMCC 2017, and the teams’ journey to the 2018 Olympic Winter Games, follow us on Twitter, Instagram (@worldcurling) and Facebook (/WorldCurlingFederation) and use the hashtags: #FWMCC2017 #Roadto2018 #curling

by Emily Dwyer, feature writer