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27/03/2013 09:53,
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Inside OT: Press box

Our latest Inside OT feature takes you on a tour of the stadium's press facilities...

Manchester United matches are beamed all around the world to hundreds of millions of football fans, the action and reaction pored over by TV and radio broadcasters and analysts, newspaper journalists and website reporters, and so Old Trafford's press facilities are often a hive of activity on matchdays.

The stadium's facilities include a press lounge, press conference auditorium and a seated viewing area - the latter is a dedicated space in the South Stand where journalists watch the game from seats with built-in desks to deliver their match verdict. Journalists working for print and online publications tap away on laptops, while radio and TV staff shout excitedly into microphones. For those 90 minutes, concentration is key, pressure immense as the media deliver accurate and timely assessments of the action to millions of fans around the world, often to strict deadlines.

The view from the press box, situated just to the right of the halfway line and at an ideal height to cast an eye over proceedings, provides as good a vantage point as anywhere else in the stadium. Internet connectivity (both wired and wireless) ensures stories can be sent to sports editors in the blink of an eye, while small TV monitors provide handy replays.

United's recent Champions League tie with Real Madrid was a prime example of just how much focus there can be on matches here at Old Trafford. Jose Mourinho said "the world will stop" for United's European tie with his Real Madrid side. Britain certainly did. On the night, ITV's live broadcast attracted an average of nine million viewers, peaking at 10.96m, the channel's biggest audience for a Champions League game since the all-English 2008 final in Moscow.

Newspapers, too, were awash with coverage of the game the following morning, with many devoting more than half-a-dozen pages to the previous night's events. And if you switched on the radio there was little else up for discussion. An estimated 425 media professionals – journalists, cameramen, commentators, producers, engineers etc – worked tirelessly at Old Trafford on the night of the match to ensure fans around the world didn't miss anything that happened on the pitch.

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