FIBA complimented Estonian basketball for switching to e-championships
The emergency situation declared due to the coronavirus outbreak put an abrupt end to the basketball season in Estonia, but thanks to an innovative approach, clubs are continuing the season in a basketball esports league as of April 22.
All clubs competing in the highest division of Estonian basketball – BC Kalev/Cramo, Tartu Ülikool, TalTech, Pärnu Sadam/Transcom, Rakvere Tarvas, Tallinna Kalev/TLÜ and AVIS UTILITAS Rapla –, have agreed to continue the basketball season virtually. In the men’s category, the Estonian basketball champion in 2020 will be determined via the video game NBA 2k20 for the PlayStation 4, with technical support provided by Levira.
“At the beginning of April, the Estonian Basketball Association found itself in an unprecedented situation. Due to the outbreak of COVID-19, it had become impossible to continue the regular basketball season. Thus the association came up with the idea to create an e-sports league in cooperation with the Estonian basketball clubs,” said Keio Kuhi, Managing Director of the Estonian Basketball Association.
President of FIBA Europe Turgay Demirel: “Congratulations to the team of the Estonian Basketball Federation and their partners for this innovative solution to continue basketball season virtually. We hope that their idea will spread to other countries as well and will encourage others to create e-basketball leagues during the lockdown period.”
“When the representative of the association came to talk to us, they already had a game and an idea. We at Levira had to come up with a plan on how to solve it technically and how to make it attractive. In cooperation with Kristjan Saar, we established a new format and discussed thoroughly with the association to understand whether everything was going according to their expectations,” said Edgar Pravon, Media Services Sales Manager at Levira.
The E-league consists of a total of 10 broadcast days. Every Monday, Wednesday, and Saturday the matches are broadcast on Delfi TV, TV3 Sport Eesti, and on Saturdays also on the Inspira channel. Levira uses a studio for the broadcast and employs a team of technicians, a director, a presenter, and a producer.
“After the initial testing, we agreed with the clubs that one player had to be present in the studio for the duration of the match to ensure the picture quality of the broadcast. In order to minimize any risks, the remaining 9 players participate from home. The biggest challenge was to ensure the picture and sound quality because on our end we cannot guarantee the internet speeds of players at home. Also, compared to normal live broadcasts we cannot move or change any home camera plans,” said Pravon.
The E-league teams comprise at least five members, four of whom have to be current or previous players of the club, as well as coaches and some clubs have even drafted real e-athletes. Teams play in a round-robin format playing all other teams once, the two top teams will be guaranteed a place in the semifinals and 3 to 6 teams are playing in the quarterfinals.
Viewers can also enjoy pre-match interviews with participants and on Saturdays up to 30 minutes of interviews with people closely involved with Estonian basketball.
https://vimeo.com/413447453 (source: AS Levira)
Levira is a digital services provider and technology partner to companies whose business depends on technologies and who wish to involve a professional service provider that can offer the necessary solutions. Levira produces TV content, helps media services providers design TV channels, and ensures that programs are on the air 24 hours a day, 365 days a year. Levira is the main TV and radio network operator in Estonia and owns one of the largest data centers in Estonia. Levira’s customers are international and regional IT companies and media service providers. Levira’s shareholders are the Republic of Estonia (51%) and the French telecom and broadcasting company TDF Group (49%).