The Challenge

Fox Sports, along with many major live broadcast organizations, is part of a larger technological evolution. With the emergence of new formats, technologies, and environments, and the growing volume of content, broadcasters need scalable IT infrastructures that can power more complex workflows with a much smaller form factor. The shipment and deployment of heavy equipment on space- and weight-constrained broadcast trucks becomes a real headache—and a hindrance to performance. Fox Sports wanted to increase speed and optimize capacity by consolidating hardware and software, and eliminating the need for heavy-touch management and costly interventions. Monolithic legacy solutions weren’t up to the challenge. From ingestion of footage to file transfers and ultimately to broadcast, the process and equipment needed to be streamlined while also accelerating performance.

The Solution

Fox Sports has implemented OpenDrives’ all-flash Ultimate system—part of our next-generation Ultra hardware platform. Powered by our intelligent data management software, Atlas, the Ultra family of storage solutions is designed around the principles of simplicity, flexibility, and scalability. These form a modular, portable system with a turnkey installation to dramatically reduce complexity, physical footprint and set-up time. Our NVMe transfer kits have increased read/write speeds by 4x while cutting rack space and overall footprint in half. Using IP-based standard open protocols, OpenDrives integrates with best-in-class broadcast technology and data solution providers, including CMSI, EVS, Western Digital, Signiant, Google, Aspera and Arista, to serve as the centralized hub powering seamless onsite connections and real-time access to content.

The Result

Fox Sports was able to migrate from a “bespoke” model of live broadcast support to a more efficient and standardized one. Previously, each time they needed to cover an event, they were forced to guess at the amount of equipment to send, the number of people needed to deploy and operate it, and the time required to set it up and tear it down. Nothing was standardized or modularized. Now, they have the predictability in the required equipment for any event of any size, simplicity of setup because the configurations remain nearly the same, and time saved for the actual deployment phase, reducing what can be a week’s worth of setup time down to a matter of hours with OpenDrives at the center of each unit of equipment.

The solution, first deployed for Fox Sports broadcast of NASCAR races and NFL games, will be scaled for The World Cup Qatar in 2022, anticipated to be one of the largest events in live broadcasting history. Fox Sports will be running over 90 simultaneous camera feeds all shot in HDR, covering four matches per day across eight stadiums that are geographically distanced by 75 kilometers, to produce the best viewing experience and seamlessly reach 1 billion global viewers. 

Read the full announcement HERE

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