Summer of sports – 8 great video formats to tell sports stories

Olympics runner

With a summer of sport in full swing and the Olympics just around the corner, there’s no better time to produce videos about our sports heroes and their achievements.

Covering sports can be challenging if you don’t have rights to use the footage of the sporting action. That’s why we wanted to share examples from across our network of videos that creatively use still images, text overlays, and music, as well as voice-over or on-camera commentary to create powerful videos. 

HRT: Using 3D animations

Croatia is a football-loving nation, and their national team reached the World Cup final in 2018. To keep their digital audiences engaged with video content during the European Football Championship, journalists at this public service broadcaster launched a format built around animations of the key match moments provided by 3D Replay – a Wochit content partner. 

> Video from HRT

Eurosport: Translating flagship content for multiple markets

During the French Open, this pan-European station developed a great format featuring fun and light-hearted interviews with up-and-coming tennis players. A central team in Paris edited the footage into a quick-fire interview. By adding text and subtitles to the story, Eurosport makes sure viewers can consume the content without sound. Another trick of providing a texted version of the videos is to make it easy for local markets to translate. Colleagues across the continent can pick up the master video and quickly replace the English text with their own language version. 

> Videos from Eurosport




Augustin Bascoulergue, Head of Digital Tennis, says the key to success is to plan ahead and be creative: 

“Before creating a new format, I would advise first to decide for which platform you want to produce it. If it is for social platforms, your video format really needs to be convertible in all the social formats: 16×9, 4×5, 1×1, and 9×16.

Not having rights to the competition is challenging but is not an insurmountable obstacle. You need to be creative and think out of the box: use pictures, gifs, Twitter, TikTok, Instagram accounts, and the development of easy ways of recording at a distance like Zoom opens new options to illustrate your video.”

RP Digital: Piece to camera from home

German publisher RP Digital’s sports reporter shows his creativity with recorded piece to camera match summaries. Filmed from the comfort of his home, he can quickly give a post-match analysis and making it more visual, which he enhances with photographs and 3D animations overlaid.

> Video from RP Digital

Sports Illustrated: Listicle vlog

Another work-from-home hosted format comes from Sports Illustrated. In this vlog-style video, the presenter chooses a specific sport or player position and lists the Top 5 in the field. He packages the story nicely with some text that lists each player. Here’s an example of the Top 5 Defensive Backs. 

> Video from Sports Illustrated

France Bleu: Letting the audio track speak for itself

Radio France built their format around the commentary from the football match, which they enlivened with a soundwave animation. You’ll need your sound on to enjoy this one (even if you don’t speak French!). 

> Video from France Bleu


Milwaukee Journal Sentinel: Audio commentary with a slide show

This local Wisconsin Gannett publication anchored their story with an audio interview with former baseball player Craig Counsell, commentating on the injury of Travis Shaw. 

The format is broken up with question cards, and they also use animated photographs to illustrate the points in the interview. 

> Video from Milwaukee Journal Sentinel

Lou Saldivar, Editor/Producer, Video and Interactive at Milwaukee Journal Sentinel, has a process for combining assets from multiple sources:

“I came up with a little system for producing daily videos using the talking head Zoom interviews our reporters get and the imagery supplied by our photographers or the media feed in Wochit. It’s been working great — huge time saver! I can’t wait to see what the Wochit team comes up with next. Mixing and matching features really helps keep the presentation fresh.”

Wada7: Using archive, text, and music

Digital publisher Wada7 chose to focus on Tunisian tennis player Ons Jabeur and her road to the French Open. They used stills and athlete’s archive video as the base and then developed the storytelling with text overlays and music. It makes for an effective way to create social-friendly content that is optimized for different platforms.

> Videos from Wada7

Facebook 1×1 (01:33):

IGTV 9×16 (01:33):


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A post shared by Wada7 واضح (@wada7official)

TikTok 1×1 (00:55):

@wada7officialلاعبة التنس التونسية أنس جابر تصنع التاريخ !🎾😍👏 ##أنس_جابر ##onsjabeur ##Tennis ##تنس ##تونس ##تونسية ##تونسي ##تونسية_حرة ##تونسنا♬ son original – Wada7official

El Paso Times: Using Twitter content

The local newspaper took a viral video tweet about the heroics of an 8-year-old baseball player and made it their own by adding context and photographs. 

> Video from El Paso Times

Want more sports content and tips?

To learn more about covering sports content for digital, you can read our case study with the IPC and how they grew their page followers by shifting strategy when sporting events got canceled as a result of the pandemic. 

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