Business and Enterprise |

Broadcasting live tennis around the globe, from net to net

By Trevor Boal September 14, 2018

In 2014, Perform Group and the Women’s Tennis Association (WTA) came together to create a landmark 10-year partnership worth over half a billion dollars, which was defined as one of the most significant investments in women’s sport at the time. Since then, WTA Media has been responsible for the production and distribution of content and broadcast footage for the WTA’s annual global tour.

Under the agreement, Perform Group has committed to broadcast multiple feeds from various WTA events in locations as diverse as Europe, China and Uzbekistan. Several tournaments take place in parallel throughout the year, challenging Perform Group to deliver simultaneous broadcasts of overlapping events.

The scale was substantially greater than the previous years’ operations, as John Learing, Managing Director of WTA Media and Executive Vice President of production partnerships at Perform Group, explained: “We went from producing about 700 matches a year to more than 2,500 matches in a single season. So, we needed to partner with someone who understood how to contribute and distribute all of this content via the myriad platforms that broadcasters are using in the 21st century.”

Perform Group wanted to move towards a fibre network to improve the quality and reliability of the broadcast output and viewer experience. It had been looking at an IP media network delivery model for several years, and wanted a network designed for the high stakes of live video. This is where we could come in.

In addition to tackling the sheer scale of the content delivery requirement – moving from about 700 matches to more than 2,500 a year –and overcoming the logistical challenges of operating in so many different locations, Perform Group also wanted to centralise and simplify its relationships with suppliers of media contribution services.

Our solution: a worldwide fibre network, and added extras

This is where we could step in to deliver a unique solution. We leveraged our global infrastructure and designed a unique global media network solution that could deliver video from the WTA Tour’s 47-plus locations across the globe. This included “dual and diverse” fibre connections designed for the stringent requirements of live video, with built-in redundancy and two geographically diverse paths to Perform Group’s location for scalability and resiliency.

We were able to deploy our full suite of professional media solutions for WTA Media, with four key elements: a global broadcast operation, global field operations, a global broadcast sales team and a global media network based on fibre with additional satellite options.

“The main benefit of fibre over satellite is scalability,” says Perform Group’s Senior Vice President of Commercial Distribution Sam Sandeman-Allen. “If you have multiple tennis venues where matches are taking place simultaneously, you can end up with many different video signals being pushed out all at the same time and it’s that sheer scale that favours fibre over satellite for this specific project.”

We were pleased to also integrate our NetCam camera to provide unique angles for enhanced fan viewing experiences, without distracting or disrupting the players during a competitive match. Viewers get to be right in centre court, at the net, seeing the speed of the game and the athleticism of the players.

Perform Group is now able to offer more live content to broadcasters, with every match and every tournament delivered live in high quality. Using transmissions of multiple feeds from every WTA event and by covering multiple WTA events in parallel, WTA Media has increased the amount of content produced for the WTA Tour per year by approximately 2,600 hours.

Our high bandwidth and low latency network has improved the consistency and quality of the content distribution, along with increased service levels and network availability, to deliver a better viewing experience.

We’ve been able to help WTA Media move from a complex scenario – where they used multiple video and data networks from various providers with different standards and conversion requirements – to one partner providing a single content network for all media from all courts at WTA events around the world.

As for the future, Perform Group and WTA Media will be looking at how they can build on the winning foundation in place to deliver more innovative and engaging experiences to bring sport fans closer to every aspect of the game.

Business and Enterprise |

The hidden Aussie tennis tech you’ve already seen on-court

By Trevor Boal February 16, 2018

Telstra NetCamTelstra’s NetCam is a game-changer in delivering a net’s eye view of the on-court action.

Making its debut in 2017 global tennis tournaments, Telstra’s NetCam provides audiences with an unprecedented panorama of the court during competition. Deployed on each side of the net, the miniature camera delivers an immersive broadcast experience for tennis fans around the world.

Telstra’s NetCam is the next evolution of Telstra’s industry-leading Globecam technology, a live, point-of-view miniature camera technology. Telstra’s NetCam device is the result of several years of research in Telstra’s Globecam facility in Melbourne working closely with tennis authorities to ensure viability.

The technology specialises in delivering unique angles and enhanced fan viewing experiences, without distracting or disrupting the players during the competitive match. The miniature camera technology also provides players and officials with a unique and live net’s eye view of the on-court action.

The bespoke camera uses the latest in low latency digital link technology to receive and transmit live content right from the field-of-play. The camera lens can be customised to capture live footage across different situations and environments.

Through innovation in mechanical stabilisation, overheat prevention and remote colour correction, the technology keeps footage sharp, clear and vibrant, despite the camera’s small size and frame.

Telstra’s NetCam meets specific competitive tennis requirements – where the camera needs to be small enough to be discreetly deployed on each side of the tennis net, but also have the capability to capture a panorama of the court during competitive matches.

Pioneered at the 2017 BNP Paribas WTA Finals Singapore presented by SC Global, Telstra’s NetCam received endorsement from WTA Media Managing Director John Learing: “Women’s tennis is an incredibly athletic and fast-paced game. Telstra’s NetCam allows us to provide WTA viewers with a unique perspective while helping us to tell that athletic storyline. Tennis fans are not just courtside they are now immersed in the game on court and at the net.”

Business and Enterprise |

Melbourne Cup broadcast backed by winning Telstra Globecam

By John Graham November 8, 2017

Telstra’s Globecam delivered Channel 7 audiences a winning view at this year’s Melbourne Cup, with the bespoke broadcast technology worn by barrier attendants and horseback interviewer.

Australians love watching sport, and the first Tuesday in November is always a major highlight on the Australian sporting calendar with the nation stopping to watch the iconic Melbourne Cup. While throngs of punters descended upon Flemington to cheer ‘the race that stops a nation’, millions more across the globe tuned into Channel 7’s live coverage of the race.

Through the integration of Telstra’s Globecam, a live, point-of-view miniature wearable camera technology, punters were given the box seat for the start and finish of the iconic race live and as it happened. This year marks the third consecutive year Telstra’s Globecam team has been a broadcast services provider for Channel 7’s telecast of the Melbourne Cup.

Featuring on horseback for the Cup Carnival, the bespoke technology uses the very latest in low latency digital link technology to create the smallest and lightest camera device. The camera lens can be customised to capture live footage across different situations and environments. Through innovation in mechanical stabilisation, overheat prevention and remote colour correction, the technology keeps footage sharp, clear and vibrant, despite the live camera’s small size and frame.

At this year’s Cup the miniature-tech was mounted on the barrier attendant’s helmets, providing audiences with live point-of-view vision of the track as they positioned the horses in the starting stalls. A second HelmetCam was worn by a horse rider, as he interviewed an emotional Corey Brown following his historic win on Rekindling.

The Melbourne Cup is just one of the many sporting events to use Globecam with the technology deployed at major sporting events across the Asia Pacific, Middle East, Europe and the Americas. The technology has been used in broadcasts of the Natwest Blast T20 in England for Sky Sports, Pro 12 Rugby in Ireland for TG4, Indian Premier League, all codes of football in Australia and even sky diving live on Sunrise, as well as by global broadcaster Fox Sports.