The official countdown to the 2010 Commonwealth Games in Delhi began on October 29, 2009 with Queen Elizabeth II handing over the Queen’s baton to President Pratibha Patil at a special ceremony at Buckingham Palace. National broadcaster Doordarshan also got active, organising a three-day World Broadcasting Meet from October 26-28, 2009, to assess the broadcast preparations for the Games.
For the first time in the Games’ history, the sporting extravaganza would be covered in high definition TV (HDTV). Britain’s SIS Live (Satellite Information Service) will provide the production and coverage facilities and services to cover the Commonwealth Games in HDTV.
Speaking at the meet, Aruna Sharma, Director General, Doordarshan, said that Prasar Bharati had tied up with SIS Live after an exhaustive tender process. According to industry sources, the Games’ contract to SIS Live is valued at $500 million.
Sharma further said, “SIS Live would provide all production facilities and personnel to cover 17 different sports across 12 venues in Delhi, as well as the Games’ opening and closing ceremonies.” In addition, SIS will be also provide coverage of the Queen’s Baton Relay, which will make a 340-day, 120,000-mile journey across all the Commonwealth countries and territories, ending in Delhi at the start of the Games on October 3, 2010.
Besides providing the technical infrastructure to cover the Games, SIS Live is providing over 1,000 highly-skilled technical and production staff at the 12 venues, assisted by 300 DD staff, who will be trained by SIS’ technicians.
The Rights Holding Broadcasters (RHBs) from various Commonwealth nations like Australia, New Zealand, South Africa, Canada, the UK and Canada also took part in the World Broadcasting Meet. The representatives from RHBs also visited the Games’ venues to take stock of the work in progress.
Sharma said, “All the hard work went off very well and all the RHBs were satisfied with our strategies and plans. We are confident of meeting all deadlines in time.”
Meanwhile, Sharma informed that Prasar Bharti had made elaborate publicity plans on TV and radio to generate awareness for the 19th Commonwealth Games. Thirteen pre-Game programming components highlighting a range of activities would be put up on Doordarshan from November 2009.
Sharma further said, “We will be sending these programme capsules to other countries as well. These programme capsules will feature the history of Delhi, the history of Commonwealth Games, profile of the Games’ participants, as well as promote tourism in India. We will start aggressive campaigning from January 2010, wherein we will be also involving celebrities.”
This was the first meeting of global broadcasters as part of the Games preparation. The second global broadcasters’ meet is scheduled for mid-April, 2010.