Sportcast continues to expand Bundesliga coverage with VIDI network and automation

The German Bundesliga has successfully expanded its broadcast network providing live TV signals for the international market. Following the go-live on January 1 2015 of the national network designed by VIDI and operated by host broadcaster Sportcast, it was expanded for the 2015/16 season to include new venues in Ingolstadt and Darmstadt.

Another highlight is the automation of bookings. This means that Sportcast’s online booking tool now directly accesses the VIDI network management system (NMS) and automatically triggers the corresponding signal activation. The network is monitored from the VIDI Network Operation Centre (NOC) in Darmstadt.

As a TV media service provider Sportcast coordinates live sports, and as a subsidiary of DFL Deutsche Deutsche Fußball Liga it is host broadcaster for the German Bundesliga.

In relation to this latter role, VIDI designed and realised a Germany-wide network for Sportcast to broadcast live TV signals from all first Bundesliga stadiums to Cologne Broadcasting Center (CBC) in Cologne, and from there on to the EBU in Geneva. Here the EBU handles the needs of international rights-holding broadcasters.

The network went live at the start of 2015. It comprises 2 x 10 Gbit/s connections that use four rings to transport the HD signals. To guarantee the best possible availability and protection against outages, data traffic is controlled from the VIDI Network Operation Center (NOC) in Darmstadt where it is monitored by experienced engineers.

The NOC is also available during atypical hours especially for soccer matches. VIDI specialists at the NOC are on hand every Friday, Saturday and Sunday during Bundesliga match times. That’s a good thing too, given that the international rights-holders – all of which pull their live signals from the Sportcast network – naturally demand 100% signal availability for images of Bundesliga matches.

“Over the course of the year, the network has been further adapted and modified as a result of the addition of new up-and-coming match venues in Ingolstadt and Darmstadt, and the loss of venues in Freiburg and Paderborn,” said Robert Oszvald, Director Event Services at VIDI. The work needed to revamp the infrastructure and network was completed as per the deadline and in time for the start of the first round of the 2015/16 season.

This solution is successful in more than just reliability and flexibility; it also boasts new features to improve convenience. Originally, Sportcast bookings had to be transferred manually to the VIDI NMS. There is now an electronic interface between the two systems. This means that bookings are copied directly from the Sportcast booking tool into the VDI NMS, and that activation is now a fully automated process.

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