Inside SBS' state-of-the-art production for the FIFA World Cup

Hisense Australia is sponsoring the FIFA World Cup 2022ᵀᴹ, and is looking behind the scenes at SBS, delving into the preparation that goes into bringing the biggest sporting event in the world to an Australian audience.

Niav Owens showcasing the SBS FIFA World Cup 2022 Studio

Niav Owens showcasing the SBS FIFA World Cup 2022 Studio

Create your to stream all 64 matches of the FIFA World Cup 2022ᵀᴹ live and free any time on your favourite device.

As the official broadcaster of the FIFA World Cup this year, SBS will broadcast all 64 matches live and on free-to-air television in Australia from November 20 until December 19.

From the faces you’ll see on the tournament coverage to the team working diligently away behind the camera, a huge production delivers the broadcast; bringing you stories, analysis and everything in between to make sure the biggest sporting event in the world is accessible and entertaining for everyone in Australia.
The first introduction viewers will have to the SBS World Cup broadcast will be as if they are transported to Qatar, floating in the studio along with the hosts off the coast of Doha in a magnificent room that will capture a natural experience of being right there.

Over a year in development, the final build of the revolutionary broadcast space came together in the SBS Sydney studios. Nicholas Hansen, Creative Director at Swingtime Creative, was on hand to document the construction of the set and talk to the key creatives in charge of the design.

“On the first day, it started with a blank studio with beige floors," Hansen said. "Everyone showed up with the task in mind and it all came to life in the last few days, with the screens showing the augmented reality, it was quite a momentous journey for the team.

“The team wanted to push the studio to its limits, create a unique space that would tell the story of the event in a way that will impress the audience and appeal to a wider audience."

The studio opens up the destination of Doha to the audience at home, both from a footballing perspective and a cultural one as the design was influenced by the region.

"It takes inspiration from Middle Eastern culture and one of the things Mark Dyson, the set designer, did was to take the tile and mosaic work that had been built over 1,000 years ago and incorporate it into the design."

The setting is there for the World Cup to feel very immediate, but SBS will also be on the ground in Qatar to bring local angles and, of course, the most up-to-date news from the teams competing.

Two members of the broadcast team, Adrian Arciuli and Matt Connellan, will be on your screens during the FIFA World Cup 2022ᵀᴹ, roles they have aspired to play for decades.

“I’m passionate about the upcoming World Cup because, professionally, it will be the culmination of more than a decade of hard work,” Connellan said. “Personally because, well, it’s the World Cup, and every single person who watches football is in the four-year cycle of World Cup to World Cup.

“I’ve been following football for as long as I can remember, mostly thanks to my grandfather and Dad, who came to Australia from the UK in the 1970s. Let’s just say my grandmother and Mum were very patient as we indulged this passion!

“My first job as a reporter was covering the NSW NPL and I still volunteer at APIA Leichhardt in Sydney when I get the chance.”
Connellan will be SBS Sport's reporter on location, pitch-side, bringing you the immediate reactions of the players and coaches making waves at the World Cup, and also scouting around Qatar for unique stories and insights. Normally the National Editor and Chief of Staff at SBS World News, it’s going to be all World Cup and football in the build-up for the tournament.

“I’ve been watching a lot of football, that’s for sure! And while that sounds amazing, there’s a big difference between watching football for pleasure as opposed to for work,” Connellan continued.

“I’ve been reading the papers from overseas too, keeping an eye on what the talking points are, as well as researching local aspects like the eight stadiums in Qatar and what’s unique about them.

“The hard work is in the preparation, the planning, and the organisation, we just need to execute the plan. I suppose where I come in is when those plans change, or unexpected events happen on the ground, that’s where it’s on me to think quickly and deliver for the audience.”

Arciuli is another loanee from SBS News, the Sport Lead will be reporting and producing parts of the World Cup coverage, with a particular focus on the Australian team camp, hosting a ‘Socceroos Diary’ daily with David Basheer, featuring insights into the camp.

"It's surreal that watching the sport so many of us love and cherish is considered preparation for covering the FIFA World Cup,” Arciuli said of the work going into his preparation for the World Cup.

“I've been analysing the squad lists for each nation and looking at the performances of players heading into the tournament.

“Conducting interviews with players before the tournament also provides us with crucial information for our coverage.”
The passion for football runs deep in the Arciuli family.

“I was born in 1990, so my first memory associated with football is Roberto Baggio's missed penalty at the 1994 FIFA World Cup,” Arciuli added. “Growing up in an Italian family, it wasn't a matter of if I started loving and playing football, it was when.

“It wasn't until I watched France '98 on SBS, that I was fully able to absorb and understand the true magnitude of the FIFA World Cup and the power of football.

“I like to live my life by 3 F's: Family, Friends and Football. It's a dream to work on the FIFA World Cup for SBS, given I, like so many others, idolised Les Murray and Craig Foster as a kid.”

For both Arciuli and Connellan, the ultimate thing to report on would be the Socceroos' success at the World Cup.

“The Socceroos winning the FIFA World Cup! Hopefully, it can be a realistic dream in our lifetime,” said Arciuli when asked which moments he’d love to see in the upcoming World Cup. “But in all seriousness, I would love to see Argentina win the tournament in Lionel Messi's likely World Cup swansong.”

“I would love to see the Socceroos surprise a few people – it would be wonderful to be in the position to bring that story to our audience,” Connellan said. “And personally, given my heritage and beginnings in football, I would love England to make an impression too.”
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7 min read
Published 19 November 2022 at 6:00pm, updated 20 November 2022 at 10:33am
By Jamie Finch-Penninger
Source: SBS