This article was originally published in the Summer 2019 issue of The Record. Subscribe for FREE here to get the next issue delivered directly to your inbox.
Fans are the ultimate multitaskers, looking up stats during the game, posting on social media, texting their friends, and if they’re in-stadium, downloading and interacting with special content through mobile apps designed to provide an even more immersive fan experience. As one researcher put it, if there’s something happening on the first screen, there’s probably something happening on the second screen, too.
There’s a lot going on behind the scenes to create a seamless experience for sports fans. The in-stadium experience is critical, as are the elements required to broadcast the game to millions – and in some cases, billions — of people all over the world and to a variety of devices.
So, what does this entire ecosystem look like? It seems like only a few years ago, having a mobile device at sporting events was useless because everyone was using the same cellular network. This led to rampant congestion and a lot of frustration. Sports teams and stadium owners began to take a hard look at what they could do and today, many locations have invested heavily in technology and networking architecture, including disaster recovery components, that not only allows for enhanced in-venue connectivity, but also for a holistic, smart infrastructure.
Today, delivering the game beyond the stadium is key. By some estimates, more than 90% of football fans have never attended a game in person, so their game-watching experience is highly reliant on the quality of the broadcast. What seems like a simple broadcast requires an exceptional level of pre-planning and coordination among the stadium and surrounding broadcast locations, fibre broadcast networks, TV networks, over-the- top (OTT) video providers, streaming/IP networks, content delivery networks, cable and satellite companies and last-mile internet providers. All these parties are critical in providing sports fans across the globe with high-quality HD feeds of the game, regardless of where they are and what device they’re using to watch the event.
Also, many multitasking fans watch the game on their TVs while using other connected devices simultaneously. This makes it even more critical that every party in the broadcast ecosystem deliver the high-quality experience viewers expect.
All of this can be made possible with the Azure cloud platform, connected to the right networks, with the right experts creating models where data is transmitted in milliseconds.
Judy Misbin is Strategic Alliances Director (Microsoft) at CenturyLink
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