Rise of the cloud: Paris Games marks major shift in sports broadcast solutions says LiveU

By Ophir Zardok, LiveU head of sports strategy and business development.

Tokyo 2021 marked a pivotal moment in the history of live sports production as both the organizers and broadcasters embraced, like never before, the transformative power of the cloud. This heralded a new era of flexibility, accessibility, and adaptability for live sports broadcasting.

This shift was a testament to the maturing cloud infrastructure and significantly improved reliability of cloud-based workflows. The global pandemic, which caused the event to be postponed by 12 months, also played a major role in the rise in broadcaster adoption. As we look ahead, the use of cloud infrastructure and workflows is set to intensify for the Paris Games 2024 as the organisers strive to connect with younger audiences and navigate the ever-evolving digital landscape.

Since Tokyo 2021, further strides have been made in the development of cloud infrastructure paving the way for a seamless integration of cloud-based workflows. This, coupled with a continued increase in cloud adoption by broadcasters, points towards a paradigm shift in sports broadcasting solutions.

The once-perceived challenges of latency and reliability have been overcome, instilling confidence among organisers and broadcasters. As a result, the cloud has become a trusted and integral component of live sports production. It also offers greater efficiency, removing complexity and shortening workflows. Production teams can collaborate on content remotely and on-site and content can be shared at a fraction of the cost than traditional production methods.

‘Ground-to-cloud-to-crowd’ workflows are increasingly being adopted to deploy efficient crews to wherever needed, and from there reliably move the content into the cloud. Value can be added by creating a fully mixed programme in real time, before it is distributed either for linear or syndicated playout, or direct to digital channels.

Taking the Pacific Games into the cloud

The Pacific Games, a quadrennial multi-sport event hosted in 2023 by the Solomon Islands, stands as a testament to the transformative capabilities of cloud production, coupled with cutting edge IP and wireless video transmission technology. This combination facilitated high quality, reliable transmission from remote locations, eliminating the need for a costly satellite set up. Cloud integration allowed real time ingest and distribution across multiple platforms, elevating the Pacific Games broadcast to new heights. This success story exemplifies the potential of cloud solutions, even for remote or dispersed events, ensuring wider accessibility and enhanced audience engagement.

Paul Vunituraga, broadcast manager for the Pacific Games 2023, said: “Despite the challenging environments on the island, the quality and scope of the live production remained at the highest level throughout the games. We could focus on covering all the different sports with engaging live content, while expanding our reach to new takers with full peace of mind.”

Engaging younger audiences

In the ever-evolving digital landscape, major sports event organisers are actively seeking ways to make their events more relevant to younger audiences. The cloud has emerged as a potent tool in achieving this goal by enabling sports organisations to seamlessly repurpose and distribute live content across various digital platforms. From websites and apps to social media platforms, the cloud’s flexibility allows for tailored content for different video formats and audiences. Additionally, the pay-as-you-go scalability of cloud solutions enables cost effective ramp-up and downsizing based on demand, a crucial factor in a dynamic media environment.

Both the organisers and the broadcast partners of major events, such as the Paris Games and Euros, cognisant of the need to engage and monetise younger audiences, are increasingly turning to the cloud to produce short-form content specifically designed for social media platforms. Trends favoring localisation and personalisation of content further underscore the cloud’s relevance in creating compelling content that resonates with younger viewers.

Cloud production offers major event broadcasters unmatched scalability, allowing them to tailor content for regional networks. Localised commentary and graphics can be seamlessly integrated into live feeds, catering to specific cultural nuances and preferences. This regionalisation not only enhances the viewing experience but also opens avenues for targeted advertising and sponsorship, boosting revenue potential for broadcasters of major events.

Taking the sustainability angle

Producing live content in the cloud goes beyond engagement; it facilitates remote production (REMI) workflows and, as a consequence, can contribute to an event’s sustainability goals. The unmatched flexibility of cloud solutions opens opportunities for a shift to hybrid or fully remote production leading to fewer personnel on-site and a reduction in the event’s carbon footprint.

Remote production in the cloud not only reduces environmental impact but also offers cost savings and logistical advantages, making it an attractive option for event organisers and broadcasters committed to sustainable practices.

As we look into the future of live sports production, the adoption of cloud-based workflows will continue to accelerate, fueled by ongoing technological advancements and increasing industry confidence. With the Paris Games, Euros and other major events on the horizon, the sports broadcasting landscape is poised for further innovation and deeper integration of the cloud. The scalability, flexibility, affordability, and sustainability benefits offered will undoubtedly lead to more engaging, accessible, and environmentally responsible sports broadcasting solutions that benefit viewers around the world.

The summer of sports ahead of us serves as the next milestone in this transformative journey and the cloud’s ability to facilitate a connection with younger audiences is set to cement it as a cornerstone in the evolution of live sports production.


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