In the Press

Contribution, master control, playout, distribution, and more are all handled in the cloud

The launch of the CBS Sports Golazo Network today marks not only one of the biggest swings in the history of soccer programming but also one of the biggest cloud deployments in the history of broadcasting. All switching, routing, recording, clipping, and distribution is being done entirely in an AWS cloud environment for the 24-hour direct-to-consumer streaming network, which is dedicated entirely to domestic and international soccer coverage.

“Everything is actually built in the cloud in terms of the network playout,” says Corey Smith, senior director, advanced production technologies, CBS Sports. “The only thing we’re [producing] live from outside the cloud are our desk shows coming from Ft. Lauderdale or Stamford or CBS Broadcast Center — or it could be anywhere else in the world. Our cloud-based infrastructure can pull in all the external feeds coming in and route them logically — just like you would in a fixed facility but removing the dependency on a physical facility — to package all of the broadcasts. It’s quite the machine we’ve built.”

System Overview: GV AMPP, AWS Play Key Roles

Golazo Network’s cloud-based ecosystem is based on Grass Valley’s GV AMPP (Agile Media Processing Platform) and has been built out across multiple AWS instances. GV AMPP handles all playout, recording, routing, and switching from its broadcast facilities, and Net Insight NIMBRA manages all routing of SRT feeds within the cloud. Other key vendors are OpenDrives for cloud-based storage, and EEG’s Lexi encoders for automated captioning. The ticker is supplied by a set of servers in Dublin routing over NDI into playout and keyed in cloud.

“We’re truly embarking on a new mission where we’re not allowing physical constraints to dictate what feeds we get and who we get them from,” says Smith. “The biggest challenge is how to globally scale this. How do we bring up environments in a blue/red network design just like you would for a traditional high-profile television network? You need to make sure you have zero points of failure, everything’s redundant, and things are all backed up.”

The primary AWS data center for the Golazo Network operation is in Virginia, which is close to CBS Sports Digital’s studios in Stamford, CT, and Ft. Lauderdale, FL, as well as the CBS Broadcast Center in New York. In total, the ecosystem comprises five AWS regions: Virginia, Dublin, Frankfurt, Oregon, and Sao Paulo.