MANCHESTER, U.K.—Debrouillard Television, a U.K. video services company, relied on LiveU technology to assist Fox Sports capture the experience of 2022 FIFA World Cup fans at a venue here during key matches, including the England-USA match Nov. 25.
“Fox Sports is one of the host broadcasters for this tournament,” said Debrouillard Television owner Jonathan Young. ”There are fan parks around the world for fans to gather and watch the matches on big screens since they can’t physically be at the game."
“This has become very popular with fans, as well as with broadcasters who can capture the live supporter reaction footage gathered at these events," he continued. "The example that really fired imaginations was the fan park event during the European Championship football tournament with England fans in Hyde Park, London. It had been done in the past and continues to be a benchmark for excitement.”
Young’s company selected Road to Victory, a fan park on the edge of Manchester, U.K., for the fan reaction. The venue guaranteed high ticket sales, dynamic lighting, multiple big screens and special animations, the company said.
The first fan experience covered was for the England vs. USA Group Stage, Group B game, which fell on Black Friday and Thanksgiving weekend in the United States. Fox Sports anticipated this being a highly watched game. Fan reactions during later matches as the tournament progressed were also covered in the same way, it said.
“We spent a lot of time checking out the venue, not least the connectivity. We also tested during a previous match there, and LiveU absolutely worked. Because it’s almost subterranean – it’s built into disused railway arches – we had to ensure connectivity as this was a high-profile event for Fox Sports,” said Young.
Owning multiple LiveU units and a LiveU server, Debrouillard used a 5G-enabled LiveU LU800 to guarantee maximum bandwidth. Making the application all the more challenging was the presence of 6,000 fans, many of whom used their mobile phones to stream footage, and the concrete, steel and brick used to construct the venue, it said.
The LU800 was configured with a mix of 5G and 4G SIMs (subscriber identity modules) in addition to an Ethernet connection. A second LiveU LU800 offered redundancy. The feed was sent to Fox Sports for integration into its coverage, the company said.
“5G was a real advantage for us, not only for the inherent bandwidth and the LU800’s capabilities, but because so few consumers use it at the moment and in such a tricky environment, this gave us even more bandwidth and resilience,” said Young. “Fox Sports is very happy with the results we achieved, both in terms of the technical excellence and the vibrancy and sense of occasion the footage added.”
More information is available on the company’s website (opens in new tab).
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George Winslow is the senior content producer for TV Tech. He has written about the television, media and technology industries for nearly 30 years for such publications as Broadcasting & Cable, Multichannel News and TV Tech. Over the years, he has edited a number of magazines, including Multichannel News International and World Screen, and moderated panels at such major industry events as NAB and MIP TV. He has published two books and dozens of encyclopedia articles on such subjects as the media, New York City history and economics.
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