Media facilities and services at events

This page provides information about the facilities and support that you need to provide for media covering your event.

Facilities for media

The type of media facilities required at an event will depend on its size, nature and intended audience. The different types of media facilities that may be required are detailed below.

Media centre

The media centre is a dedicated work space for the media and should include:

  • tables and chairs
  • power supply
  • high speed internet access
  • photocopying facilities
  • areas for results and athlete information
  • television monitors
  • phone lines
  • international electrical and telephone adaptors (if required)
  • food and drink provisions, eg tea, coffee, water, food and snack-vending machines.

When selecting a location for the media centre it is preferable to select a quiet work space away from general traffic areas.

Broadcast compound

If the event is being broadcast on television, you’ll need to provide space for the host broadcaster. This will include space for an OB (outside-broadcast) truck, a tender truck, satellite van and a generator.

Depending on the level of television coverage of the event, you may need to make space available for other rights-holding broadcasters.

Commentary/studio positions

If the event is being broadcast on television, radio or live on a PA system, you’ll need to provide enough space for commentary teams.

They will need sound-proof rooms overlooking the event action:

  • in the most appropriate position for the relevant sport or event activity
  • with a similar orientation as the main camera positions
  • equipped with seated desk space, power supply, internet access and a television monitor.

Temporary facilities such as portacoms can be used for this purpose, although it may also be possible to re-purpose spaces within an existing venue.

In addition, broadcasters may also need space for presentation studios.

Press conference room

You should consider providing a press conference area/room with space for written media, television media and photographers.

The press conference room should be ‘dressed’ with the event branding including a professional media backdrop. This usually features event branding and the logos of major partners/sponsors for the event.

Facilities usually required in the press conference room include:

  • seating
  • television monitors
  • power supply
  • appropriate lighting
  • audio system
  • risers/staging (a raised platform where event participants are interviewed and for the television cameras recording the press conference).

You may also need additional space and power/IT supplies for simultaneous translation services such as interpreter booths.

Mixed zones

The mixed zone is an area where different media conduct interviews with different event participants at the same time (as opposed to a press conference setting where all media are interviewing the same event participants). Interviews are typically brief and conducted while standing.

Most mixed zones comprise some type of temporary 'chute', often constructed with crowd control barriers, along which event participants and media can spread out and talk. This is usually on the way from the:

  • finish line/field of play to the changing rooms, or
  • changing rooms to the drop off/pick up point for transport out of the venue.

Photographers’ work area and secure storage

Depending on the type of event and number of media covering the event, you may need to provide a separate photographers’ work area. If a separate space is not readily available, then photographers can be housed in the media centre.

Ideally a photographers' work area should be as close as possible to the field of play or centre of action. It should have tables and chairs, power supply, television monitors and access to phone lines or wireless internet connections.

You should also provide a secure lockable storage space for photographers’ gear.

Tribunes or other working areas

In addition to the media centre, consider providing a seated area for the print media overlooking the main sporting area or main action in the most appropriate position for the relevant sport or activity.

In the case of sports held within stadiums, tribunes for print media may be needed. Tribunes generally have seated desk space with a power supply and possibly phone/data lines. The tribunes should be located with a clear view of the field of play and big screen (or an additional television monitor).

Services for media

As well as providing facilities for media, you need to consider providing associated services to support media activity. The different types of services are set out below.

Media guide

Develop a media guide with information about the event including:

  • the event schedule
  • event participants and officials
  • the venue or course
  • sponsors and partners
  • contact details for relevant event organisers
  • event rules
  • main statistics around previous events including major athlete or team performances
  • media facilities and services
  • media rules or terms and conditions.

Example media guide

Fast5 Netball World Series Auckland 2012 — Media Guide [PDF, 4 MB]

Media packs

We highly recommend you consider providing media packs. These can be as sophisticated or simple as the event budget allows.

At a minimum, media packs should include the media guide and official programme. The media pack can also include:

  • brochures and messages from sponsors or partners
  • country and regional information about travel, accommodation and activities
  • gifts such as pens, data sticks and other branded merchandise or giveaways — often provided by sponsors or official suppliers.
  • media packs are generally provided in some form of reusable bag.

Distributing information

Email

Email has become the main way for distributing information to the media. A regular media newsletter is a useful way of building awareness and distributing key messaging around the event.

Briefings

Depending on the scale of the event and media interest, you can conduct local or overseas media briefing sessions in the lead up to the event (ideally at least 6-10 months out).

Briefings can be especially helpful to build awareness among overseas media. They also provide a forum to distribute key event messaging and operational updates and help media plan their coverage.

Information board and handouts

During the event, you should consider providing a board for posting up the latest results and relevant information. In addition, you should consider making physical copies of this information readily available to the media.

Translation services and interpretation

You may need translation services and interpreters depending on the nature of the event and the needs of participants and/or the international governing body.

Consecutive and/or simultaneous translation services may be needed at post-event press conferences, especially if they are to be broadcast live.

Consecutive and chuchotage (whispering) translation services may also be needed for mixed zone and judicial hearing or similar purposes.

Rate cards (IT, internet, phones etc)

You may need translation services and interpreters depending on the nature of the event and the needs of participants and/or the international governing body.

Consecutive and/or simultaneous translation services may be needed at post-event press conferences, especially if they are to be broadcast live.

Catering

You should provide the media with some level of catering — either free of charge or at a subsidised cost — especially after post-event media conferences and interviews, when public catering may have closed.

Media expectations will largely be framed by standard practice within the specific sporting code or event circuit, so consult national sporting bodies, international governing bodies or previous event organisers to identify the appropriate level of catering required.

Ticketing and accreditation

You should give a free ticket to each accredited member of the media, if the event is ticketed.

You need to set up strict policies and procedures for media accreditation, starting with a process for capturing requests. These are some of the steps to take:

  1. Compile the request/application data.
  2. Get the applications reviewed by event organisers, the national sporting organisation and/or international governing body. This may include:
    • checks on the legitimacy of the applicants
    • consideration of any capacity issues
    • identification of targeted media groups to be given priority allocations.
  3. Process the applications.
  4. Advise the applicants of the status of their application and details of arrangements for distribution of the relevant accreditation device.

Separate accreditation policies and procedures should be considered for photographers and broadcasters. It’s a good idea to use jackets, numbered or coloured bibs or armbands to identify who is allowed in what areas at the event. You can create and manage special zones, especially around major areas such as the field of play, finishing lines and presentation podiums.

Media hosting and transport

Approach local government and local or regional tourism organisations for help with hosting the media. This may include organised activities, tours or events. It’s to ensure media have a great time and feel looked after.

Consider providing parking or dedicated transport where possible. At a minimum, provide a drop-off zone near the media facilities.