The Sky Sports News presenter and producer gives an insight into how broadcasters prepare for the January Transfer Window.
A key month in the Sky Sports calendar is the January Transfer Window. A time for hectic deals and rampant speculation. Preparation for such an important period begins weeks before for broadcasters, such as Sky.
David Reed explains what can be prepared in advance and the issues faced with covering a deadline day that takes place in the middle of a packed Premier League season:
“For us, it’s more plans as to how it will look on screen rather than transfer news ramping up. What will it look on the big video wall? Who will present it? What will deadline day look like?
“Sometimes in the last couple of years there have been fixtures on the January Deadline Day which makes things difficult for us as it splits attention. It’s our biggest day twice a year. It’s a day where the most people watch.”
"The interesting thing about the January window, which is different to the Summer, is that we have much more access to the clubs.
"Through January we are constantly in contact with clubs, visiting them as much as twice a week, whereas in the Summer, clubs do their pre-season abroad and behind closed doors, so there’s more of an excuse for them not to pick up the phone.
"The later it goes in the January window, the harder it gets to complete a deal, because clubs don’t want to sell a player if they don’t have a replacement readily available."
When discussing the ideal news content that Sky Sports look for, Reed mentioned one of the biggest transfer stories of the Summer:
“We are looking for a narrative throughout the month. If a transfer drags on like Harry Maguire’s over the Summer, it’s perfect because it gives us something to talk about pretty much every day.
“The Maguire deal was silly really. Manchester United were quoted £80 million at the start of the window, then spent the window trying to make it less than £80 million but ended up paying it anyway. So, it was stupid from United and good from Leicester to stand firm.
"Leicester proved in previous windows when they refused to sell Riyad Mahrez to Roma on deadline day. They showed United that they weren’t afraid to keep hold of players, so you either stump up the money or we keep him."
"Usually, now, it’s quite rare that transfers get done in a few days. It can take three or four months to complete a deal because there’s a lot of posturing between the clubs, agents and players. What’s good for us is a good narrative."
Reed elaborated further on the specific content that he found to be the most successful:
"In terms of what drives traffic on TV and online, it’s the top six clubs. They’re the most supported, so it’s a difficult balancing act for us.
"We want to feed the Sky Customer because, as much as we are a news service, we are a business as well. We want customers to return and if they want top six content, we have to give it to them, but then we also have to provide the balance.
"We have relationships with the Premier League as a whole because we're the rights holders so we have to look at all of the clubs in the Premier League and not focus too much on the top six."