After the flood BBC Howzstat!

BBC Howzstat!

“How can we automate the publishing of unique sports stats?”

Client

BBC Global News & Sport

The Problem

Quickly publish visually impactful match stats

Our Solution

Production templates and style guide that create video for use on TV and web

Results

Howzstat! clips got 3 times the traffic of standard sport video during Cricket World Cup

“How can we automate the publishing of unique sports stats?”

We designed a production system and new video format for 2015 Cricket World Cup match wrap-ups that incorporates automated data graphics and a unified visual style.

Due to the need for daily content, the new system had to be easy for the BBC’s production staff to implement quickly without any loss in quality. We also worked to develop a visual language that reflected the exuberance of the World Cup while remaining true to the core elements of the BBC’s identity.

Chapterised Content

The format was devised as a set of modules that could be chosen and sequenced as needed, depending on what interesting events took place that match day. 

We designed a video format that their in-house designers could use every day to create stat-based match summaries. The result is a flexible set of tools that can be chosen based on what interesting events happened in any given match. This styleguide shows the range of templates created.

On Site

As well as going out on BBC World News, the graphics went on the BBC Sport website as daily catchups on the action.

Social

Because we made each film in small chapters, these units could be placed in social feeds as indiviual ‘atoms’ or as full films.

Photojournalism

A key feature of Howzstat is the use of photography from the day’s events, allowing the BBC Sport team to place the statistical data in the context of human events and sporting drama. 

Data in Motion

Howzstat takes full advantage of the expressive possibilities of motion graphics, revealing graph legends over time rather than showing all the information on screen at once. 

The Worm

The format has tools for displaying the important data automatically along with features for highlighting key moments. Here we used a visual pun referencing a common cricket chart type, the ‘worm chart’ (the line chart of cumulative runs). 

The making of . . . 

Content Strategy

In any sports data project, we look to present information that fans actually talk about. BBC Sport were also keen that we created a palette of visualisations that could support the specific stories in the game that they wanted to tell. Our content planning process starts wide with lots of ideas and then focusses them into consistent formats. All day long, we are looking to maximise any important facts by highlighting or annotating key stats as well as engaging with images from the game itself.

Starting with a script helps us focus on the story of the content not just as single graphics but how they build the story of a game.

The basic content cards allow us to see any duplications of format and to work on the labelling in a sharable manner.

We then grouped the cards by type to see where we could create reusable formats that would aid production.

Once we had the visual styles for the content card formats, we ordered them in a story-arc in the styleguide.

Production

The After Effects templates were handed over to production teams at BBC Sport. We spent time making sure they were easy to use.

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