Network: Sport1

Creative: UnitedSenses

Target Audience: Male sports fans

Campaign Led By: Markus Schmidt, Creative Director, UnitedSenses; Arne Tympe, Senior Art Director, UnitedSenses; Theresa Birkner, Designer, UnitedSenses; Monika Kandlbinder, Executive Producer, UnitedSenses; Sebastian Hirsch, Designer; Anna Kalashnyk, Producer, Pronto Film; Arman Kavrailoglu, Art Director, Sport1; Rainer Heneis, Director of Marketing, Sport1

Objective: In 2013, Sport1 converted from a single TV channel serving Germany, Austria and Switzerland to a “real sports media brand,” said Markus Schmidt, creative director for the UnitedSenses agency. New properties ranging from a pay TV channel (Sport1+) to a Sport1 YouTube channel, radio station and even a print magazine (“Sport1 Bundesliga”) made for a fresher, more dynamic brand umbrella, a feeling that the primary Sport1 TV channel’s “very dark and 3D-ish look” no longer properly reflected. Tasked with implementing concepts, design work and overall strategy for Sport1’s rebranded TV presence, UnitedSenses spent six months crafting new graphics packages for the channel that could also be adapted by Sport1’s in-house creative team Brandsome to flow seamlessly between the channel’s many layers of radio, online and print offerings.

“You have to develop logo applications that go for the radio channel, that go for the online side [and] the whole brand of multimedia applications,” said Schmidt. “You have to be careful that not everything looks alike. You really have to find a way to differentiate from each other so people understand, ‘okay, now I’m watching television, now I’m online, now this is the radio.’ It’s kind of challenging.”

Steps Taken: Schmidt’s team ended up producing hundreds of graphic elements and templates that can be expanded, minimized and reordered to fill any section of the screen for any given sport the channel might broadcast, from basketball to sailing. Everything about the graphics – the bold, simple Sport1 logo; the interlocking silvery-striped parallelogram shapes that course through the backgrounds; even the typography itself – leans forward, as if pushing into the next evolution of sports action.

UnitedSenses opted to connect the branded streams of stats, schedules and other information with vivid, slow-motion footage of athletes in action. Schmidt’s team shot more than 50 different original clips for the rebrand, aiming to “worship the beauty of sports,” he said. “Usually when you look at sports promos, it’s really like ‘cut, cut, cut, cut, cut.’ So in this case we said it is important to get some slo-mo moments where you can sort of exhale or inhale again, because everything else leaves you breathless. “

The high-octane shots, featuring such imagery as a soccer ball slapping the back of the net as every cord of nylon ripples poetically, also feed into Sport1’s new tagline, “Mittendrin,” or “in the middle of.” Schmidt explained the slowed-down moments are meant to place the viewer “in the middle of the player scoring the goal or the dunk of the basketball, and so on. Those are the ‘mittendrin’ moments.”

Lessons Learned: In spending six months creating graphic elements for the thousands of scores, stats, inserts and other data required by Sports1, and any of today’s sports networks, Schmidt learned that timing is everything.

“You can’t start too early because it means that it leaves too much space for discussion,” he said. “And you can’t start too late because in the end you really have to give everything you have in terms of getting it done and getting it on the air. It is really some learning that you don’t underestimate the complexity of these sports projects.”

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