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All You Need to Know About Live Sports Production

Sports production is arguably the most engaging and fast-past vertical of live event entertainment but also one of the most technically challenging missions. Large international audiences with their ever-growing demands, a plethora of unexpected developments put additional pressure on the crews that make every effort to fulfill the expectations and deliver top-notch real-time production. A myriad of elements has to be nicely put together in order to get complete high-quality streaming - just think of tons of various signals coming in an array of formats that need to be transmitted around the venue.

However, the popularity of live sports content is growing at the lightning speed, boosting the surge for streaming services. Broadcasters and content providers face new challenges because now they have to produce more viewing hours than ever before. Consumers want greater coverage, more flexibility, and, of course, availability across all conceivable and inconceivable platforms and devices. If you are plotting to become a part of this crazy busy industry and embark on the exciting adventure of producing live sports, here is all you need to know to set you up for success.

Traditional vs. Cloud-Based Production

Not so long ago, you wouldn't have a dilemma whether to opt for traditional live sports products or its cloud-based counterpart simply because the latter didn’t exist. But today, you have an opportunity to choose the remote method if you need to overcome restrictions on travel or staff numbers, or simply want to optimize costs of production. As Luke McCoy, a CEO and co-founder of Live Graphic Systems explain in his blog post at, which is the first one in the series dedicated to live production workflow, cloud-based broadcast technologies “are leading the way in expanding the possibilities of content generation while proving they can maintain TV-quality and reduce cost in humans and hardware”. Indeed, this type of production enables quick, uncomplicated, and, what’s most important, cost-effective delivery of as-real-as-it-gets events.

All in all, a winning combo of cloud computing, IP-based networks, remote control of equipment, and better use of human resources is what makes this solution a perfect fit for the ever-changing needs of the market. However, this is not to say that the traditional approach is no longer actual. Quite on the contrary, it has its own virtues and in some cases can’t be replaced successfully. If anything, nothing can compare to be present at the site, tapping into the authentic atmosphere of the hot ticket event. If your budget is large enough to accumulate extra expenses related to the travel of your crew and a heck of a lot of other stuff, safely go for a classic site-and-send scenario.

Equipment You Will Need

When it comes to the range of the necessary equipment, it really depends on whether you go the traditional or remote way. A lot. A traditional workflow requires you to bring more stuff on the site of a live sports event: a vision mixer, both hardware and software for your live graphics playout, a dedicated hardware encoder, and, of course, cameras, microphones, and other accessories.

With a remote variant, everything is much easier because you won’t need a vision mixer, live graphics hardware, and you can make it with just one encoder in contrast to at least three you would ideally need for on-site production. Of, course, you will still need a camera. If you worry about live commentary, do not – there are special cloud-based solutions that take care of the whole process. Your live commentators can enjoy the game in any part of the globe and their comments will be an inseparable part of the stream without any sync issues.

People You Will Need

Again, your demands in stuff can vary greatly, mainly based on the quality of the product you want to deliver. If you do not plan to settle for less than crispy, professional graphics enhanced with integrated match statistics, then you will need to hire at least people just for that purpose: a full-time graphic operator and statistician. Moving forward, you need a camera operator, a vision mixer, a stream technician is not a must but chances are, you will feel the need for this kind of specialist. Of course, the more cameras you have, the more people you will need onboard. Needless to say, if you go with a cloud-based variant, not all people have to be present at the spot.

Live events have already become an inseparable part of our life and the demand for this type of entertainment is constantly increasing. Live sports production is a rapidly-evolving and highly promising sector of the industry that sees enormous growth of audience worldwide.


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