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If you look back over the history of broadcasting, you can connect many of the industry’s most significant technical milestones to coverage of major international sports events.

Occurring just once every two or four years, these high-profile events deliver unparalleled opportunities to wow audiences, build viewership, and promote corporate brands across a remarkable array of properties. In producing these best-of-the-best sports competitions and crafting the stories that engage viewers, networks continually look for new ways to raise the bar. Technical innovation is always part of that strategy.

Over the last few years, premier sports events have driven a series of technical firsts related to SMPTE ST 2110 and IP-based workflows. The Paris Games will be no exception, where host broadcaster Olympic Broadcast Services (OBS) will use ST 2110 technology to make, manage, and moves its high-value content.

So, as we count down to 2024's marquee global sporting event, let's take a closer look at five key reasons why IP ― specifically ST 2110 ― is winning across the larger landscape of sports broadcasting.

The IP path has been well-trodden.

Stadiums, arenas, and other venues were among the first to embrace IP, upgrading their infrastructure with an eye to the future. That shift began several years ago, particularly at venues geared toward hosting international events.

As IP implementations and workflows matured in that setting, with pandemic urgency often accelerating that process, sports leagues and networks paid heed. They already understood the many benefits of ST 2110 workflows, and by 2023 they had seen enough to be confident in the reliability of IP technology. They too began to bring their operations into the IP realm.

Texas A&M was an early adopter of ST 2110.

American football game players entering the field, the crowd cheers them on in the background

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If your IP migration plans include tapping multiple vendors ― no problem.

There has been a clear shift away from the previous norm of media companies relying on a single manufacturer for all required components. In moving to IP, venues, sports leagues, and broadcasters enjoy the freedom to leverage best-of-breed systems from a variety of vendors across different sectors of the market. They benefit from products boasting open APIs and adherence to AMWA’s NMOS standard, which facilitate seamless integration of and communication between products from different suppliers.

IP is greener.

Like any other industry, sports broadcasting will feel the impact of ongoing regulatory changes in the EU and other regions. Whether responding to external requirements or following internal guidelines with respect to green initiatives, many organizations will need to consider their carbon footprint when planning new facilities, designing new workflows, and making technology investment decisions. One benefit of ST 2110 infrastructure is that, unlike proprietary systems, commercial off-the-shelf (COTS) IP-based systems often can be repurposed rather than rendered obsolete.

IP is the path of least resistance to whatever is on your operational horizon.

IP-based solutions and workflows allow broadcasters to pivot quickly to changing requirements, whether immediate or long term. They can handle a wide range of formats, resolutions, and codecs and can be more easily adapted to incorporate new features such as High Dynamic Range (HDR), ensuring that sports broadcasters are always ready to meet the next challenge of opportunity.

Several world broadcasters are planning HDR production to some degree at the Summer Games ― the product of advances on several fronts, which we explore in our recent blog, “2024 Paris Games Drive Another Milestone: Widespread Live HDR Production.

2024 Paris Games Drive Another Milestone: Widespread Live HDR Production

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Read the blog →

Next stop the cloud? IP puts you on the fast-track.

IP technology is a fundamental enabler of cloud-based production workflows. Ongoing advances in compression — and most notably JPEG XS compression — are reducing issues associated with content transfers in and out of the cloud. As a result, broadcasters can more easily and economically leverage their IP infrastructure to shift key production tasks to the cloud. This flexible hybrid cloud workflow is ideal for media organizations looking for an efficient way to create and deliver niche or tier-2/tier-3 sports content on new services, such as FAST channels.

While these five factors are key drivers of IP adoption, broadcasters are finding many additional benefits as they make the shift. When they have the luxury of taking a thoughtful approach to this move, they can implement solutions that yield immediate results for their operations and bottom line while also providing the foundation for whatever the future may require.

Picture of Guillermo Jimenez Navarro

Guillermo Jimenez Navarro

Director of Broadcast Engineering, Olympic Broadcasting Services

January 25, 2024 - By Jimbo Haneklau
Senior Account Manager - Sports & Live Events
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Steve Reynolds

Steve Reynolds is President of Imagine Communications, a global leader in multiscreen video and ad management solutions that broadcasters, networks, video service providers and enterprises around the world rely on to support their mission-critical operations.

Steve brings 25 years of technology leadership in the video industry to Imagine Communications. He has served as the CTO at Imagine Communications and Harris Broadcast, Senior Vice President of Premises Technology at Comcast, Senior Vice President of Technology at OpenTV, and CTO at Intellocity USA.

Steve earned a MS in Computer Engineering from Widener University and BS in Computer Science from West Chester University. As the Chairman of the AIMS Alliance and a member of SMPTE and SCTE, he has participated in numerous standards-making bodies in the cable and digital video industries. Steve also holds over 40 patents relating to digital video, content security, interactive television and digital devices.