Aspera Case Study: Live Streaming of Sports Content to International Online Platforms

Sportradar, with headquarters in St. Gallen, Switzerland, is an international company that collects and analyzes sports data and digital content including live results and statistics, and offers white-label digital sports content solutions for bookmakers, sports federations and media companies worldwide. Turner Sports, Twitter, and Facebook are among the leading companies in sports and digital media that rely on Sportradar for innovative content, applications, and product development. Exclusive agreements with the NBA, NHL, International Tennis Federation, and NASCAR are among its 65 league and federation partnerships worldwide.

Sportradar’s Live Channel offering is a live streaming service for online and brick and mortar bookmakers, covering more than 35,000 live events with exclusive content each year. The company typically works with various rights holders and different production companies for each event. Over the course of a year, Sportradar receives more than 100 rights holders’ streams for the events they cover.

Challenge
As network connectivity has become increasingly available at production venues, the possibility of using new live video transport solutions over IP networks has emerged. Sportradar has used the public Internet for contributing much of its live stream content. Today, Betradar Live Channel receives more than 35,000 IP streams from a large number of venues and production sites across the globe for these sporting events in broadcast quality and ingests the video signal into its data center for multi-bitrate and multi-format encoding before streaming the content out to its international client platforms.

However, Sportradar faces growing demand for higher quality streams over IP in real-time, which is further complicated by the need to stream contributed video over longer distances and with encryption, primarily from Asia to Europe and between Asia and Australia. It needed a failsafe solution that would ensure fast and reliable transmission of its live content.

 As Sportradar and its customer base expand globally and as requirements for streaming became more complex, Sportradar realized that it would face growing challenges in overcoming latency and packet loss over global networks. Using protocols without error correction while optimizing network routing paths to avoid packet loss was no longer sufficient. Therefore, it sought a solution that could meet client demands and scale with Sportradar’s continued growth.

Solution
While exploring alternative solutions, Sportradar realized that Aspera FASPStream not only addressed the exact problem that it needed to solve, but that Sportradar could seamlessly integrate the FASPStream technology into Sportradar’s existing workflows to meet all its key requirements at a much lower cost. FASPStream is built on Aspera’s patented FASP bulk data protocol to guarantee the timely delivery of live high-resolution, broadcast-quality video by fully utilizing available bandwidth to ensure glitch-free play out and negligible start-up time, regardless of distance or network conditions.

Sportradar uses FASPStream for single day event-based productions and for extended week-long tournaments. For instance, at a recent production in Australia, a signal was created by the rights holder’s host broadcast service. The SDI signal was then delivered to Sportradar’s proprietary encoder, transmitted using Aspera FASPStream from the venue in Melbourne to regional AWS servers in Sydney over public Internet, where it was then delivered to multiple CDNs. For this particular event, stream encryption and error correction for 30+ high bit-rate streams in parallel were critical. Furthermore, multi-cast handling, contribution monitoring and low latency tuning were also key features of Aspera FASPStream that contributed to successfully delivering content to this production company.

Results
Aspera FASPStream is the first open video transport solution that is capable of high-quality live streaming over commodity Internet WANs. It ensures that live video streams and data are delivered with less than five seconds of delay, which is especially critical in the sports gambling industry. Additionally, all content delivered with FASPStream is encrypted in transit with tight user access controls using standard public/private key authentication to prevent unauthorized access to live streams from the venues. In addition, Aspera FASPStream enables Sportradar to quickly test and evaluate new live streams and other content providers, which allows them to more easily expand their growing library of premium quality content received from all over the world.

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