ESL is the world’s largest esports company that organizes large-scale gaming competitions worldwide. ESL’s popularity has grown at a phenomenal rate. With the drive for niche, but extremely popular, sports such as ESL to be shown on a wider scale, broadcasters worldwide are lining up to showcase tournaments across multiple platforms.
To ensure that Season Ten tournament finals of the Intel® Extreme Masters (IEM, a series of international esports tournaments owned and organized by ESL and sponsored by Intel) reached television, web and cinema audiences in Europe and the Middle East, ESL needed a technology partner capable of delivering live feeds from the stadium(s) hosting the games directly to rights-holding broadcasters and platforms for live-to-air playout to millions of viewers.
In early February 2017, ESL looked to transition from traditional satellite delivery to an IP-based solution. With the first tournament in Poland looming, ESL needed to quickly find a delivery partner whose technology was reliable and resilient enough to deliver live feeds to 13 broadcasters in multiple regions, with additional OTT and digital cinema delivery to some regions. The first of the season’s ESL IEM tournaments were due to take place in late February and March from the Spodek Arena in Katowice, Poland.
Acknowledging the need to cover the event at the 11,500-capacity Spodek Arena cost effectively, reliably and securely, ESL opted to utilize alternative content delivery methods and partnered with Deluxe to enable the delivery of live feeds over the public internet.
Working to a tight two-and-a-half-week turnaround time from the commissioning of the project to the live broadcast of the first event, Deluxe utilised its Broadcast Delivery Network (BDN) and Portalive, its web-based Master Control Room (MCR) tool, onsite at the Spodek Arena and at each of the delivery handoff points.
Striving to surpass the success and audience numbers of previous IME tournaments, for 2017, ESL expanded its scope with 13 broadcasters including Sport1 and ESL (Germany), OSN (Dubai), TVN (Poland), Telefonica and ESL (Spain), TV3 Sport (Denmark) and Viasat in Sweden, Finland and Norway. Deluxe also delivered the Katowice tournaments to the UK broadcaster, BT Sport, who recorded the live feeds. Additionally, OTT feeds were generated and delivered to a number of takers.
Because delivery speed was hugely important, using the BDN was a particularly value component of the Deluxe solution, as it traverses the public internet and is capable of delivering the needed simultaneous live feeds to 13 broadcasters across Europe and the Middle East, four OTT platforms and a Nordic digital cinema chain.
Deluxe created a portable version of its IP encapsulation devices and encoder/decoder setups packed in a flight case, enabling sites to connect to the BDN for ESL at the stadium. This approach eliminated costs of installing at each competition and brought each event location onto the network quickly. The flyaway unit was built as a dedicated setup for the ESL and allows them to cover any event, from any stadium worldwide simply by connecting it to the production and public internet.
For the seven sites not already part of the Deluxe BDN, Deluxe’s edge-based IP encapsulation devices and encoder/decoder platform was deployed in each new location; set up and supported by Deluxe remotely, eliminating costs and bringing each location onto the network quickly. Connection to the BDN was achieved once the equipment was installed at each secondary location and the workflow at the primary location (Spodek Arena) was up and running.
The remaining broadcasters were already connected to, and benefiting from, content delivery via the Deluxe BDN. As no additional support or on-site set-up was required, Deluxe simply switched the ESL feed using PortaLive from its Network Operations Centre (NOC) in Sweden, which enabled delivery to each of the broadcaster’s locations. During the live tournaments, Deluxe monitored and supported the transmissions from its NOC in Sweden.
In addition to a live audience of 173,000 fans attending Spodek Arena and the surrounding festival over two weekends, the Intel Extreme Masters World Championship 2017 in Poland reached more than 46 million unique online viewers, a 35% growth from last year’s event.
The event was the most widely broadcasted event in esports’ and ESL’s history, with 70 linear and digital partners worldwide who produced and distributed content in 19 languages. Through live streams, highlight clips, and custom features on Twitter and Facebook, the IEM World Championship reached 55 million fans on social media channels, shattering last year’s reach of approximately 30 million*.
Tobias Grieser, Managing Director, at ESL said: “Deluxe was the ideal technology partner to deliver this incredible tournament. With a two-and-a-half-week turnaround time, they deployed a simple and cost-effective broadcast delivery solution that ensured millions of esports fans in Europe and the Middle East didn’t miss out on any of the action. With many of our rights-holding broadcasters already connected to the Deluxe IP Network, set-up was incredibly easy and happened at the press of a button. We’re looking forward to delivering the next tournament utilising the Deluxe IP Network from Sydney, before heading back in to Europe.”
*source - https://en.intelextrememasters.com