May 19, 2023
5 min read
When it comes to live sports broadcasting, technology is a game-changer. Over the past few years, technological advancements have revolutionized how sports companies produce and distribute content, forever changing the way fans consume it. Now broadcasters must follow them across new channels to stay relevant. In this new world, live streaming sports is an essential part of your broadcasting toolkit.
How Technology Is Moving the Goalposts
Plenty of people still get their live sports on TV today, but for many, the days of gazing only at a single large screen in the corner of the room are over. Most people have devices in their pocket that travel with them everywhere, and these smaller screens are becoming their primary channel for entertainment — including broadcast sports.
This mobile push underpins an increased focus on live streaming sports. Live streams outside of cable and satellite channels offer a powerful new way to reach fans who want to watch sports live. eMarketer's U.S. Sports Video 2021 study found viewership of digital live sports streams reaching 57.5 million in 2021 and an estimated 90.7 million by 2025. This trend is due in part to multichannel video programming distributors (vMVPDs). These are the over-the-top content providers — like Apple, Amazon, and Hulu — who take subscriptions to provide a range of aggregated video content, including live-streaming sports.
Broadcasters can also use mobile messaging and social networks, not to mention their own apps, as key delivery mechanisms for exclusive content. This approach enables them to engage fans beyond game time and even into the off-season to retain and nurture fan loyalty.
A second screen doesn't need to replace the TV entirely either. It's a perfect complement to fast-paced big-screen sports action, delivering statistics and other secondary content to enhance the viewing experience. Sports broadcasters can use audio watermarking in TV signals to trigger information on the second screen, ranging from product promotions and loyalty giveaways to information about players and replays from exclusive camera angles.
Raising the Bar for Production
Live streaming sports is a huge opportunity for broadcasters, but it also brings new challenges.
Perhaps the biggest challenge is the sheer volume of content that fans expect. A new generation has grown up with a constellation of content available at their fingertips. Sports broadcasters must feed fans a steady flow of exciting new material while operating within strict budgets. This demand calls for new, streamlined ways of working, including a move from tape to file-based workflows.
Panasonic Connect's KAIROS live production hardware and software solution is already helping sports broadcasters to meet these challenges head-on and provide the quality and volume of content that die-hard sports fans expect. It brings live sports broadcasting into the modern age with a platform that speaks the internet's language. This powerful live-switching platform enables production staff to ingest IP signals from multi-camera streaming, switching them in real time to create dynamic live streams for viewers that broadcasters can deliver over a dizzying array of online channels.
KAIROS uses ST 2110, an enhanced version of the internet protocol for the broadcast industry that evolves quality, flexibility, and speed beyond the incumbent SDI standard. This vendor-independent communications protocol supports up to 8K video formats, future-proofing it for years of audio-visual innovation. It delivers audio, video, and other data in separate streams, making it easier for applications to pick only the streams they need and reducing the network bandwidth overhead.
KAIROS hardware integrates seamlessly with Panasonic ST 2110-compatible cameras, simplifying the configuration and management of multi-camera streaming setups.
Level Up Sports Live Streaming Production With KAIROS
KAIROS offers numerous benefits that help sports broadcasters reach unparalleled flexibility and quality.
Unlock your creativity
The KAIROS system supports creative real-time switching with native support for audio, video, and graphics. Sports production staff can drop advanced IP signals directly into a Photoshop-style layer-based interface with software-based live video output compositing and built-in title generation. These features enable them to build and apply sophisticated transitions between live digital signals quickly and expertly.
Take any input
Production teams can accept multiple video, graphics, and image formats from various sources, enabling live streaming sports at resolutions from basic HD to 4K and beyond. It decodes streaming sources for instant processing so that production teams don't miss a second of sports action. Support for advanced IP also enables sports broadcasters to handle signals from remote sources, making studio-based production a snap for live sports events.
Send any output
One KAIROS system can output to a variety of displays, including IMAG magnifiers, on-venue displays such as LED walls, and front-of-house displays, along with online web streams and live broadcasts. Broadcasters can handle all inputs and destinations from a single control panel.
Produce from anywhere
KAIROS' advanced communications capabilities allow support for remote production over Ethernet connections without the need for dark fiber or satellite links. That's what enabled Dallas-based production company GlobeStream Media to coordinate live-streaming softball from a state away.
Capture every angle with handheld and PTZ cameras
The Oklahoma City-based USA Softball GOLD National Championships showcase players 18 years and under in online games closely watched by national coaches seeking the next generation of talent. Producers at GlobeStream Media controlled a variety of cameras throughout the Championship, including handheld camcorders and point, tilt, and zoom (PTZ) cameras for the preliminaries and finals.
KAIROS' strong networking capabilities enabled production staff to manage all of these cameras remotely from the studio, delivering high-quality content back to the control room. This solution streamlined the on-site workflow, saving time and money by eliminating the need to replicate a control room on-site.
Take your live sports broadcast to the cloud
Panasonic Connect is taking remote, high-quality video production to the next level with a cloud-based version of KAIROS. Now, crews don't even have to host production equipment on-premise. They can work collaboratively on video signals delivered to the cloud, enabling hybrid production that easily mixes signals from multiple sites.
KAIROS can grow to handle any production, no matter the size. Broadcasters can add more network sources and GPU-powered cores to accommodate more signals. The cloud-based KAIROS system enables them to grow their production capacity while minimizing capital expenditure.
A New Generation of Live Sports Broadcast Excellence
2023 saw Panasonic Connect launch the latest generation of KAIROS mainframe hardware, the KC200 and KC2000. These units, together with multiple enhancements to the KAIROS software, are specifically designed to help broadcasters manage the volume and velocity of modern file-based live sports stream workloads.
More capacity: The biggest benefit that sports broadcasters will see from the new units is an increase in capacity. The KC2000 boosts input/output capacity by 200% over the current generation of KAIROS equipment. It also includes a 900 GB internal clip player.
More flexibility: The new KAIROS systems are also quieter thanks to an enhanced chassis, enabling them to operate unobtrusively at sports venues.
More reliability: No one wants a signal failure due to a network outage. That's why Panasonic Connect designed KAIROS to support two 100Gb ST 2110 networks for extra resilience.
Thanks to modern solutions like KAIROS, sports broadcasters can keep on hitting home runs and delighting viewers for decades to come. If you're ready to revolutionize your live sports broadcast, Panasonic Connect is here to help.