In today’s social media-driven world, leagues, teams, and even athletes themselves have become content producers. The Boston Celtics have positioned themselves as one of the most forward-thinking organizations in this environment, putting to use Vizrt’s Viz Libero sports analysis product to produce television-worthy, highlight-show-quality clips on the team’s social media platforms.
With features such as The Breakdown presented by GE, the Celtics are working to bring basketball even closer to fans.
“Teams have realized the opportunity they have now,” said Nicole Federico, Vice President, Business Development for the Celtics. “This is definitely a huge priority. Most of our partners are looking to establish a digital footprint. We know we’re able to accomplish this with different content and cutting through the clutter is a focal point for us. When we look at our content, we’re not competing against other teams or leagues, we’re competing against everything, and the most important thing for us is to make sure we’re pushing out truly exclusive and authentic content for our brand and partners.”
In The Breakdown segments, fans get more than simple highlights. They don’t just see Jayson Tatum finishing a fast break with a dunk, they see the play forming, paused to highlight the key players involved—the scramble for the loose ball, Kyrie Irving’s hustle to make the steal, and Gordon Hayward’s precise outlet pass. These videos don’t just show fans a play. They take them inside the play. These are not the typical unadulterated highlight reels that clutter our feeds. The details stand out.
“We have a lot of diehard Celtics fans, and we’re always trying to find ways to better engage with our fans,” Federico said. “We have experts in our digital content group who excel at providing analysis and context about our team. It’s valuable to be able to highlight a key point and to allow fans to analyze the highlight and understand how high-caliber these athletes really are.”
Vizrt started as a software provider in the broadcast space. Now it has global headquarters in Norway and stateside headquarters in New York City, and has found many homes for its Viz Libero service. The use of Viz Libero in social media has been just the latest evolution for a product that has already been used in many different facets of sports.
Viz Libero allows a user to add graphics to any video file. It has been used by traditional broadcasters to enhance highlights, by coaching staffs to integrate data in game film, and, now, by NBA and NFL teams to share the best possible highlights with fans who not only seek this kind of content, but demand it.
Perhaps the biggest advancement in this technology has been Viz Libero’s accessibility. The technology is able to run on any laptop, combining realistic 3D replays and advanced virtual graphics with virtual camera images.
“GE, our exclusive data and analytics partner, came to us with certain goals, and we decided to focus on breaking down footage, looking at it more in depth,” Federico said. “We liked the way telestrated clips told a story and how the overlay of stats and data played into a clip. To do that manually would require a lot of creative development hours, so Viz Libero provided the same output much more time efficiently.”
That simplicity, Federico said, has been crucial to saving development time, and has allowed the Celtics to turn clips around in a hurry.
During the offseason, the Celtics spoke with their colleagues in the NBA who had already been using Viz Libero. They realized that not only could the technology provide the kind of advanced data they wanted to convey, but more importantly, it could be used efficiently and regularly during the season.
“Fans are educating themselves more consistently, which is also something we’ve had to solve for,” Federico said. “Ten years ago, fans only had broadcast footage at their disposal so watching a good broadcast was enough. Nowadays fans are so invested in teams and players, they’re consuming content just as much as we are. For us there are two things, staying caught up with industry trends, and also maintaining relevance with fans. Vizrt provides the unique opportunity to give fans the inside look they’re not getting from traditional highlight clips.”