LIVE Sports Streaming - a solution for events of all sizes
Live streaming sports is a demanding and difficult endeavor. There is a reason why ESPN, Fox Sports or CBS Sports are all pros at these projects. And while many of us would love to have an ESPN style broadcast, our budgets don't often match that reality. Finding a mid-size or smaller company that can produce a "somewhat" similar style broadcasts without the huge price tags is an option within your reach.
WHAT TO LOOK FOR IN DETERMINING IF LIVE STREAMING IS THE RIGHT SOLUTION FOR YOU?
BUDGET - This may seem obvious but let us explain. Multi-camera sports live streaming involves many moving parts. Camera operators, audio operators, graphics operators, a technical director, a director - these are all critical roles in fulfilling the mission of putting out the best sports broadcast for you. Setting realistic budgets and obtaining quality professional staffing will ultimately determine the type of broadcast you will receive and the success of your event.
ONE PERSON CAN'T DO IT ALL IF YOU WANT IT DONE RIGHT. Doing more with less is a time honored tradition when staffing retail or business locations. However, it can be detrimental to a live production environment. The Director should not also be the TD and audio operator. The graphics operator shouldn't also be in charge of handling video playback and sending messages to the play by play team. Having the right people in the right positions is important and we encourage all event organizers to keep that in mind when they are planning out their budgets for staffing. Having the right equipment to do the right job is our responsibility and we work hard to make sure that the appropriate hardware necessary to execute your vision is in place.
LOCATION - Determining the location of the production center and where the camera's will be located to catch all of the action will impact your cost. Is the sporting event within 300 feet of video village that will allow us to use a HD-SDI cabling workflow or will our cameras be more than 1,000 feet away and require the use of Fiber? If logistics prevents the run of cables, do you have to go with wireless video with a limited line of sight range of 2,000 feet? Proper planning and budgeting will allow our team to best prepare how to capture all of the action.
STAFFING AND SET-UP TIME - Large sporting events (where there is a crew of more than 8 people) will require 9 or more man-hours in setting up equipment and managing workflow. Our set-up process involves three sets of crew: a) the set-up team which is led by the Broadcast/Fiber Engineer. This is the team that will lay down fiber/HD-SDI cabling, build out tents, move scaffolding & scissor lifts and prepare the basic infrastructure of the broadcast; b) the second team is the camera crew team led by the technical director. The technical director is responsible for directing the camera team in building, testing and setting up each camera location along with reviewing their shot selections for the broadcast; and, c) the last set-up crew is the video village team led by the Director. This team is responsible for building the production/broadcast room/environment with all of the equipment needed to manage the live broadcast and manage graphics and audio operations.
The set-up process is often overlooked in budgeting and is a critical role in making sure your live broadcast goes off without a hitch. Most large sporting broadcasts will end up suffering on screen if not enough time, attention or resources are given to this process. We will work with you on all of your budget needs but we always advise our client that the "set-up day" can make or break a production. Making sure we have access to the venue, the time to prepare the broadcast and the time to build out the production environment is important for all team members involved. IF YOUR EVENT involves a crew of 5 or less (using a minimum of 3 cameras), plan on having at least 6 hours to set-up and manage the production environment with two set-up crews.
The different positions involved in a live broadcast include: The Producer (usually the Client), Director, Technical Director, Audio Operator, Graphics Operator, Instant Replay Operator with Assistant, Video Playback Operator, Camera Operators, Set-up Team, Production Assistant.
INTERNET CONNECTIVITY - There are only three economical choices available to you for live streaming: a) The cheapest option is using 4G LTE Wi-Fi service provided by a single provider (not recommended), b) wired internet connection provided by the venue/location of the event (recommended and the most used option); or c) bonded cellular solution using the LiveU LU500 cellular bonded device managed virtually (the most expensive option that is also used by TV networks all over the world). Your ability to get a reliable internet connection with an upload speed of at least 6 Mbps or greater (10 Mbps or greater for full HD) is important in determining the quality of your live broadcast.
USE OUR COST CALCULATOR TO GET AN ESTIMATE OF COST - We have a great online tool that will assist you in getting a starting point for the cost of a live sports broadcast. Use is as an aid to determine all of the assets and personnel you would like to have on the project. CLICK HERE to access the cost calculator.
Xtreme Fighting Nation (XFN)
was founded in 2013 by Daniel Kay and promotes the top up and coming fighters in South Florida. In an effort to grow South Florida's #1 MMA events, the founder wanted to put his fights on a pay per view platform where fight fans could watch LIVE from anywhere in the country. Working with our Ft. Lauderdale production partners, we worked with Mr. Kay to grow his live broadcast from a single camera operation (XFN 7) to a multi-camera affair complete with graphics, play by play announcers, interviews and commercials from advertisers and sponsors (XFN 8, 9 and 10).
Start-up programs aren't blessed with the biggest of budgets but they often have the biggest of dreams. When a company can't start off big but want to grow into a much larger production - we advised patience, prudence and budgeting. We started off very simple - single camera and encoder (no graphics, no music, no interviews) and grew his vision into a multi-camera production similar to what you are use to watching on TV. By setting the client up for success, they were able to move into new endeavors that allow their vision and their business to grow beyond their expectations.
In 2012, Empire Video Productions decided to put together a online live web streaming sports network that would focus on club, amateur, youth and niche athletic events that occur across the country. The IGLFA is host to an international soccer championship that is hosted all over the world. In 2014, the IGLFA World Soccer Championship was held in Cleveland, Ohio. In 2016, it was held in Portland, Oregon. IGLFA asked our production team to travel to both of these locations to provide a 3 camera live web streaming solution for soccer fans all over the world.
Our team is not afraid to travel. In over 6 season, we have put in more than 36,000 miles on the road traveling to a variety of live web streaming events across the country. Using local videographers in the respective markets, we brought the core of our production team to Cleveland and Portland to insure that the World Championship could be seen by friends, family and fans all over the world.