Despite doom and gloom in some sectors of the facilities market and unease following the demise of ITV Digital, OBs have succeeded in bucking the trend in the facilities business this summer. According to one source, the start of the Commonwealth Games for BBC, pre-season football friendlies for BSkyB and Channel 4's Test match cricket coverage, plus regular horse-racing commitments, had exhausted all spare capacity last weekend. 'Virtually all large OB units in the UK were working this weekend across most major OB companies'.
The BBC's mammoth Commonwealth Games coverage proved particularly fruitful, with BBC Resources commissioning out plenty of work. Visions and Carlton 021, two of the UK's biggest OB companies, both played a major part in the live broadcasts. Visions had units at both the cycling and shooting events, while Carlton 021 trucks were in place at the netball, badminton, road cycling and boxing.
?If you think of all the specialist [kit and people] you need to pull off something of this magnitude you're talking one hell of a set-up,' said a Visions source.
The summer has turned out to be a boon for the OB market with extra sports events like the World Cup and the Commonwealth Games, plus a plethora of music festivals, outdoor concerts and the Queen's jubilee, boosting business.
Last weekend, Visions supplied units to the Paul Weller concert in Hyde Park while Carlton 021 was recording a jazz festival in Manchester.
Other OB companies, such as Scanners, which recently picked up the BSkyB Nationwide League contract, and CT Outside Broadcast also said they enjoyed 'bumper' weekends.