'This will give people a totally different view': Why South Stand development will boost quality of Portsmouth broadcasting coverage

Broadcast audiences will soon be treated to improved coverage of Pompey matches.

Friday, 17th June 2022, 4:55 am

That’s the pledge from Steve Cripps, who is overseeing renovation of the South Stand’s television gantry.

With work scheduled to commence from the summer of 2023, the gantry will double in size, swelling space to accommodate 8-10 people.

It will be reached through the construction of two small stairs, to be positioned at either end of the revamped press box, with the South Stand roof to be cut open to allow a route.

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And Cripps is adamant the upgraded facilities, which will house Sky and iFollow cameras, can provide better pictures to those currently available to those watching Blues fixtures at home.

The managing director of PMC Construction and Development Services told The News: ‘This will give people a totally different view and make a huge difference.

‘When you are watching iFollow, you see the cameras pick up nets, columns, all sorts. From the new gantry there will be a clear visible zone everywhere, with a much better view.

‘The camera will be in the same place, but have a much wider camera lens to benefit anyone watching from home.

The South Stand's TV gantry is to be replaced next summer. Picture: Michael Woods / Solent Sky Services

‘The gantry will be able to accommodate 8-10 people, so the club’s analysts can then use it, along with Sky, iFollow and other broadcasters.

‘The process involves cutting through a section of the South Stand roof, so two small stairs come up from near the press box and then a gangway will drape through into the back of the gantry. It’s quite an extensive job.

‘Taking a whole section of roof out is monumental and will take between 8-10 weeks. For me, it's more complicated than redesigning and rebuilding the whole of the South Stand.

‘For the time being, we’ll have a temporary TV gantry in the middle of the South Stand where some VIP seating was, taking up 88 seats for next season.

Along with new seating in the South Stand, the press box (top middle) is also being replaced. Picture: Habibur Rahman

‘Once work starts at the close of the 2022-23 season, the gantry should be open for the 2023-24 campaign.’

And renovation within the structure built in 1925 also includes the press box.

Cripps added: ‘The press box is being moved slightly, with those two stairs for the gantry to be put in.

Fratton Park's existing television gantry is to be replaced in the summer of 2023. Picture: Habibur Rahman

‘However, it will contain exactly the same number of seats – so it’s ready for the Championship – while they’ll be new desks, new electrics and new IT.’

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