Cricket South Africa debuted the new 3 Team Cricket format easier this summer, and PT SportSuite live streamed the historic event to remote fans using AJA HELO H.264 streamers/recorders.
The world is slowly emerging from lockdown, but there is no certainty about how things will move, although sports organizations are easing back in with restrictions in place, including the move to behind closed doors matches. With spectators currently not allowed in the stands, and no assurance that this will change soon, live streaming has become essential to keeping fans connected, especially for cricket, which ranks as the second most popular sport worldwide.
One example of what’s possible to do during a pandemic comes from South Africa. Earlier this summer Cricket South Africa debuted a new 3 Team Cricket (3TC) format, with PT SportSuite – AWS (Amazon Web Services) partners and developers of a modular digital media ecosystem for sports organizations – bringing coverage of the historic event to remote audiences.
Providing their technological expertise, three AJA HELO H.264 streamers/recorders, and other services, PT SportSuite delivered a live feed of the first-ever 3TC match to a fan microsite that its team developed for the event, allowing fans to follow the 3 Team Cricket Solidarity Cup.
AJA HELO is “incredible reliable”
Held at SuperSport Park in Centurion, South Africa on Nelson Mandela International Day (July 18, 2020), the event provided a launchpad for the new 3TC format, which includes three teams, playing two halves in one match. Drawing in a number of South African cricket heavyweights, the match attracted a broad audience, who were encouraged to donate to the Hardship Fund, an initiative to help those in the cricket community affected by the pandemic.
To facilitate a live event stream, PT SportSuite connected two HELO units to an on-site OB truck via SDI and streamed footage over IP to the AWS-cloud based media processing and content distribution infrastructure. Given the production was mobile and lacking network infrastructure, the PT SportSuite team configured the HELOs for redundant inputs, assigning each to a different cellular broadband provider. A third HELO was positioned at the PT SportSuite Cape Town office for automatic failover in the case of an emergency.
“HELO was so easy to use and incredibly reliable. Our team hadn’t ever set up an encoder before but was able to get all three HELOs up and running quickly and without complication, and throughout the stream, the devices never skipped a beat,” shared Clinton Bosch, PT SportSuite’s chief technology officer. “The UI is so straightforward, and we love how HELO also gives us the ability to set up, configure and control each device and monitor the stream from a standard web-browser if we want, which will be useful for projects moving forward.”
A new era of sports consumption
Looking ahead, PT SportSuite expects the demand for similar applications in sports to grow in the coming years. Bosch concluded, “We’ve entered into a new era of sports consumption, in which fans – for the immediate future – can no longer be physically present during matches. To adapt, sports organizations are looking to find new ways to connect with fans and monetize content across various consumer viewing platforms from OTT to broadcast and digital. With tools like HELO, helping them deliver will be easier, more affordable and less time consuming.”
AJA’s HELO allows users to simultaneously stream video signals to Web Content Delivery Networks while encoding and recording H.264 files to SD cards, USB storage or network-based storage with the push of a button. Supporting a range of professional workflows, the H.264 streaming, recording and encoding device includes 3G-SDI and HDMI inputs and outputs and the power to handle up to 1080p recording formats among other features. Find more about the AJA HELO visiting AJA Video Systems website.