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Sky Sports News deploys IP newsgathering, cellular bonding to cover demanding English soccer event

Sky Sports News broadcast its first-ever "92 Live" event Aug. 1, presenting live reports from all 92 of the UK's Premier and soccer league clubs in a single day.

The broadcaster relied upon seven Dejero LIVE+ 20/20 transmitters and mobile broadcast teams to transmit live, high-quality HD video via local cellular and Wi-Fi networks from areas like remote practice fields that would have been impractical for traditional SNG trucks to access.

"We absolutely could not have staged 92 Live without state-of-the-art cellular bonding systems, such as the Dejero LIVE+ 20/20 transmitter," said Ian Brash, technical manager, Sky Sports News.

"The cost savings were huge. In fact, for the cost of hiring an SNG truck for a day, we were able to hire a complete suite of Dejero equipment for a whole week. Also, in order to reach all 92 shooting locations, we had to follow a strict schedule, and many of the venues were 100 miles apart. The LIVE+ 20/20 transmitters gave us flexibility that we just would not have had with a truck. For instance, we could send a transmitter on the back of a motor bike if we needed to." 

To cover the 92 football clubs scattered throughout England, Sky Sports News divided its field newsgathering teams into 21 pods. Each was responsible for covering up to six clubs. The teams carried the lightweight, portable Dejero LIVE+ 20/20 transmitters to each location in backpacks, and they were able to set up each live shoot in just minutes.

In addition to the seven LIVE+ 20/20 transmitters in the field, the broadcaster installed four Dejero LIVE+ broadcast servers in its master control facility in Sky's Osterley, West London, broadcast center. The servers received the live video streams from the transmitters and output them to the Sky Sports News gallery, where they were played to air. 

With Dejero's new Web-based remote control feature, Sky Sports News personnel in the broadcast center were able to view the status and signal strength of each transmitter and advise the camera operators on how to maximize bandwidth for optimal video quality. In the especially remote locations where the cellular signal strength was lower, news crews used the LIVE+ 20/20 transmitter to bond with Wi-Fi or connect to Ethernet networks to enable the transmission.

Dejero's EMEA distributor IDX provided advice and extensive hands-on assistance to ensure the success of the broadcast.